Easter Sunday is coming this week. The celebration of the resurrection of Christ following his crucifixion on Friday by the Jews and Romans. We’ll put “He is Risen” signs in our front yards and exchange “He is risen (indeed)!” greetings with fellow believers at church that day. These will be our expressions to let other folks know that we believe Christ did in fact rise from the dead as he said he would in the gospels.
I wonder, though, do we really believe that Christ was God incarnate, who lived as a man for over 33 years, died on a cross on our behalf, was raised from the dead on the third day? Who revealed himself to over 500 people after the resurrection, and then ascended into heaven where He is until he returns? (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9)
Do we take the gospel stories seriously, as if we were there watching Jesus heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, and teach not as a carpenter of meager means, but as the God who become man and who knows all?
Living Like It's Still Saturday
It seems to me that we Christians of today often look more like the disciples probably did on that Saturday than they did after Jesus' resurrection. What we know of the disciples' activities that fateful Thursday night mostly ends at the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus is taken away by the Jewish soldiers. Except for Peter’s denial the night Jesus was arrested and John’s presence at the cross with Mary and Mary, there is no mention of the eleven remaining disciples until after Sunday's resurrection.
But we can get some idea of what the disciples were thinking and doing on Saturday by looking at their actions on Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene came to tell them the tomb was empty, angels had appeared to her and the other women, and they told her that Jesus had risen from the dead just as He said he would (Luke 24:1-11).None of the eleven believed Mary’s story according to the gospels. Peter, upon hearing the news, ran to the tomb to see if it was empty but left it "wondering to himself what had happened" (Luke 24:12).
I imagine the disciples spending that Saturday before Easter "hiding out," because they feared for their lives since Jesus had lost his life the day before. They were probably quiet, not wanting to draw any attention to themselves - and likely filled with doubt about following Jesus. Also, I suspect they were surrounded by like-minded friends, they were fearful of what others would think if they spoke about the now-dead Jesus, and they perhaps even experienced some guilt for not speaking out for Christ the day before.
Living Like Easter Has Come
The eleven disciples that remained had shared ministry with Jesus for three years. They’d seen him do all kinds of inexplicable things, and yet after his death they stopped living for Christ. Sound familiar? If you’re reading this as someone who has acknowledged you are a sinner, that Christ is the only Savior from your sin, and that you want him to be Lord of your life, then every Sunday should be Easter Sunday.
But, does each Sunday look like that? Or, does your life look more like "Easter Saturday" seemed to for the disciples? If it’s the former, then well done! Keep being faithful. If it’s the latter, then here are some ideas for changing your Easter Saturday into an Easter Sunday:
- Grab Easter service cards and keep them with you. Pick some up at the Welcome Desk or advertise in whatever other ways you can! We have services at 4 and 6pm on Saturday and 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30am on Easter Sunday.
- Look for opportunities to invite folks you encounter to come to church this weekend. This time of year, it is a very natural conversation to have. (Acts 1:8).
A poll by the Ranier Report shows that over 90% of unchurched people would come to church if invited. But the same poll found less than 2% of church goers invite anyone to church in a year.
We are in the same situation as the disciples in Acts 1. Christ is gone, but the Holy Spirit has come! So we are to live life as they did after Easter Sunday - not the Saturday before.
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