The Easter ham is gone. The hard-boiled egg shards scatter the floor. The Easter bunny has hopped on. So what do we do now? How do we continue to live in the joy of Easter?
We follow the example of Jesus' closest followers and look to the future.
(Need to start at the beginning? Here's Week 1.)
Have you ever lost a loved one? Someone who meant a great deal to you? As children, the idea of losing someone is almost unfathomable. But the older we get, the more real death becomes.
Though they weren’t children, it’s probably safe to assume that the disciples couldn’t imagine a scenario where their Master—who healed the blind, walked on water, calmed the storms, and raised people from the dead—would be killed. And even though Jesus told them repeatedly that He’d be delivered into the hands of the religious leaders and would be killed, they still seemed to brush His words off.
But, then . . . it happened. Jesus said, “It is finished!” and “gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Though the gospels tell us only John was there to see it, you can imagine the other ten quickly learned of all that transpired. Jesus died and was buried immediately afterwards, as the Sabbath was upon them. And though He was laid in a rich man’s tomb—a tomb that had never been used (Luke 23:50–54)—Jesus wasn’t given a proper burial. Did you know the disciples couldn’t even hold a funeral for Jesus the next day, as it was the Sabbath?
So, what do you imagine they did on that darkest of Saturdays? Did they sit together and talk about what He meant to them? Perhaps reminisce on how great He was? It’s possible. But after all they’d seen and gone through, having placed their lives, hope, all their eggs into His basket, it’s more likely that they may have simply sat in silence, hopeless, full of despair, fearful, confused, angry, distraught, inconsolable. No doubt, it had to be the darkest and most empty day of their lives.
Every now and then you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in a dark place. During those times, remember, “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Sadness and joy go hand in hand. We can't experience one without the other. Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter. It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the dawn was coming . . . the dawn of a new day, a new era, a new promise, a new covenant.
In 2006, Tim Hughes wrote the song “Happy Day,” which describes Jesus’ resurrection as, “The greatest day in history, death is beaten, You have rescued me. Sing it out, Jesus is alive! The empty cross, the empty grave, life eternal, You have won the day.”
Truly, this was the greatest day in history. From Adam and Eve until the day Jesus rose from the dead, death held us ransom. But on the cross, sin had been rendered powerless. Paul points out, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
You see, when Adam and Eve fell, we became spiritually dead—empty shells, lacking in the image of God. Humanity was incomplete until the arrival of Jesus Christ, who was and is the true image and likeness of God. By rising on the third day, Jesus created a way for the original image of God in man to be restored.
“It is finished” was not the end. It was just the beginning, for greater things were yet to come!
Jesus said, “I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised” (Luke 24:49), who “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26) and “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). At Pentecost, Jesus’ promise was fulfilled as the Holy Spirit descended upon believers.
That same Spirit lives in you!
The fire Jesus started began to spread around the world. God’s redemptive work continued with the coming of the Holy Spirit, through His Church—the bearers of the new covenant - that's you and me!
God “has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . . and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18–20). We are all part of God’s work, part of His story of redemption, and He has entrusted us to carry His message of salvation to the entire world!
As you find the joy of Easter in each day, remember that God is still writing redemption on the hearts of man through His people by the Holy Spirit!
Spend some time reflecting on how God is using you to write redemption on the hearts of the people around you. If you want to learn more about how Lutheran Indian Ministries does just that. Click below and join us as we reach the lost and hurting with the healing that comes from the Gospel!
This devotion is based on Calvary Fort Lauderdale's series: "'It is finished' was just the beginning."