Plastic eggs lie cracked open in a pile on the floor. Your fridge is covered in pastel coloring sheets of a man in a flowing robe with a giant boulder beside him. Fake plastic grass is still showing up randomly, even though you swept three times already. A jelly bean is stuck in the couch cushions, and your house looks like Spring exploded in your living room. Today, you had a ham sandwich for lunch.
All of these facts can only lead to one conclusion: Easter has come and gone!
But this leads to an important question…
As a person of Faith, Easter is a big deal. It is a time of remembrance and celebration of the greatest day in history. But now that the celebration is all over, what should we do? Does life just go back to normal?
Jesus is alive. He has conquered death and sin. He has risen from the dead.
But what do we do next?
What did the disciples do?
Today, Easter is a huge celebration, attending church and having a big family get-together. Not true of the first Easter. When the disciples found the tomb empty, it was a day mixed with excitement, confusion, and doubt. They didn’t know what to think. And they sure didn’t know what to do. They were on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
The disciples had followed Jesus for 3 long years only to see Him be put to death.
It rocked their world.
Now, three days later, are they simply supposed to believe that Jesus is alive and well?
Their heads must have been spinning.
But then Jesus shows up.
Jesus always shows up. When life is crazy and you find yourself on that roller coaster, He shows up. When you don’t know where to turn and you don’t feel like you have any answers, He shows up. When life punches you in the gut and you don’t feel like you can breathe, He shows up.
That is always when Jesus shows up!
Don’t lose heart. If you really need Him, trust me. Jesus is about to show up!
40 Days of Preparation
Back to the story.
The disciples were confused. Jesus was dead, but the tomb is empty. The teachings they had heard for three years were finally starting to click.
Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. -John 20:8-10
Can you sense the confusion? John (he simply referred to himself as “the other disciple”) walked into the empty tomb and believed. Yet, they still didn’t understand that Jesus was supposed to rise from the dead. After, the disciples simply go back to where they had been staying. They still didn’t get it. They were still confused and didn’t know where to go or what to do.
But Jesus didn’t leave them.
Did you know that Jesus didn’t go straight back to heaven after the resurrection? He stayed on the earth, spending time with the disciples for 40 days before returning home. Jesus spent time with them, explained things to them and prepared them for their mission. He also told them that after He left, the Holy Spirit would come.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -Acts 1:8
So, what can we learn from the disciples?
Now that Easter has passed, what should we do and where should we go??
I believe there are 3 lessons we can learn from the disciples.
Three Steps to Take After Easter
1. Spend time with Jesus
For 40 days, the followers of Jesus simply spent time with Him. They learned from Him. They asked questions. Where do we go after Easter? I think we should spend some quality time with Jesus for the next 40 days. I know a lot of us just finished Lent. You don’t need to fast or give anything else up for the next 40 days. I simply challenge you to stay focused on having daily Bible study and prayer for the next 40 days. In order to spend time with Jesus, I suggest focusing on reading the Gospels. Mark is a great place to start. It is the shortest and fastest of the Gospels.
If you are looking for other ways to spend time with God, I would suggest the One Verse Devotional podcast. You can subscribe through iTunes or your favorite podcast app. In less than 5 minutes a day, you can grow closer to God. I would be honored for you to check it out and subscribe.
2. Spend time with each other
Where do we go after Easter? We grow together. Don’t let Easter be just another Christian holiday this year. Easter is life changing! It is a battle cry and an act of war on Satan and the corruption of this world. Now we need to band together as a community of faith and rally behind the message of Jesus. Let’s stop the fighting and start building relationships! Remember: Love First!
3. Spend time in prayer
After Jesus went back to heaven, the Holy Spirit arrived. The Holy Spirit gives us the power of God. But the Holy Spirit also helps us in our prayer lives. Prayer must have been a huge comfort to the disciples. Their mentor and friend, Jesus, was gone. They would never see him again in this life. But they could talk to Him through prayer. And I believe they used it! Prayer is no different today. Prayer plus the Holy Spirit is a powerful combination. If you want to learn more about what the Spirit does in our lives, check out Francis Chan’s book “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit“
For the disciples, the days and months after Easter must have been terrifying. But they came together and changed the world! And how did they do it?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. -Acts 2:42
If we spend the next 40 days diving into our relationship with Jesus by studying the Gospels, focus on building authentic community in our churches, and experience the power of prayer in our lives, we will be amazed at what God will accomplish in and through us!
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