Easter Sunday has passed and the celebrations are over. We each enter back into our daily routines and settle into our work-week. Perhaps we feel a bit more "spiritually refreshed," or we feel slightly more "in tune" after the beautiful Sunday services. Most likely, we feel like we are just going back to whatever we call "normal." Is this all?
We believe and proclaim that the man Jesus Christ who walked the earth 2,000 years ago is the one and only Son of God who was crucified for our sins, died, and then rose up from the grave. This is huge. The fact that Jesus was resurrected from death back to life changes everything in history. Think about it -- what if Jesus had stayed dead?
If Jesus had stayed dead, there would be no such thing as the Christian faith. All of history as we know it would be different.
For Jesus' followers specifically, there would be no such thing as eternal hope. There would be no such thing as life-after-death. There would be no such thing as forgiveness for and freedom from our sin. None of us would truly feel a sense of purpose or motivation. Loving each other would be a far-off, myth-like goal. Righteousness and generosity would quite simply be a lying game we play.
But Jesus did not stay dead.
Jesus rose from the grave--alive!
And He is still living today, working in us and through us by the Holy Spirit for the redemption of the world.
This is a magnificent and powerful truth. We cannot be witnesses of and believers in the resurrection of the dead without acknowledging the fact that this event demands a response from us. We cannot and should not sit on this story, this "good news" about Jesus, and not do anything about it.
Can we just take a moment to consider how absurd of an idea it is that we believe a dead man rose up and is living again, and furthermore that this man is the one true Son of God, our Savior Christ? The world looks at this idea and calls it foolish. This is not something one hears everyday -- it is not normal! How then can we just go back to work, walking through our days without acknowledging that His resurrection places a call for response upon our life?
Because of this resurrection, we now have eternal hope in Christ. We now have access to life after death. We now have forgiveness from God and freedom from our sin. We now are able to feel a sense of purpose and motivation, being invited by Jesus to join His mission. We now can truly love each other, even love our enemies. We now can practice righteousness and generosity on a daily basis for God's glory.
Everything is different. This is amazing! And there are people who do not know about it, or do not care.
In Matthew's gospel account, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and some other women went to anoint Jesus' dead body with oils and spices, as was the Jewish burial custom and tradition of the time. Upon arriving at Jesus' tomb, an the earth quakes and removes the large stone from the opening. Sitting upon the large stone like a stool, an angel appears to them, and shares the good news with them about Jesus' resurrection, and instructs them to go and share this news.
What did the women do?
Did they keep this news to themselves? No. Did they consider it, celebrate it for a few moments, then go back to the same-ol', same-ol' like nothing serious happened? No.
Matthew writes, "So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples" (28:8).
We can learn from these women's eagerness. They ran to tell others this good news. They believed that Jesus was raised from the dead with all their hearts. They could not help but share it.
My point is this. If we truly believe in Jesus' resurrection, then we must respond to it. Every aspect of our lives plays a role in how we can respond. Every aspect of our lives is "spiritual," and the way we live can and will affect others. But, we must share this good news not only by the way we live, but also by verbally telling it in our hope and joy. And, we must share it not just because we feel some obligation, but because every human being on the planet earth has the right to know about it!
As we enter back into our routines, I pray that we will allow the Spirit to move us and challenge us by this truth -- Jesus is alive, and everyone has the right to know. Jesus has already changed and is continuing to change our lives, and now He is inviting us to join Him in changing others' lives. This is a tremendous adventure -- an adventure where death and sin have eternally been defeated by our Christ. May our response be a humble heart, a willing attitude, and a bold seeking for opportunity to invite others to the feast.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director at IDES