The Day after Easter, Now What?

What happens next?
That’s what we ask when our favorite TV series ends.  We become curious about what’s next after
reading a great book that hints at a sequel.   A person works toward retirement for decades,
but after the retirement party they sometimes wonder, “What’s next?”

The same is true after other milestones, such as graduating
from high school or college, landing the dream job, falling in love, conquering
your first Xbox game, experiencing an unexpected loss, getting your driver’s
license, turning 21, turning 30, getting married, bringing your first child
home from the hospital, or buying your first car.

When the dust settles after Easter, many will return to
their daily routine and put Christianity away until needed next time.  For others, Easter has been a time of Easter
bunnies, chocolates, new clothes, and Easter Eggs.  With commercialization, many have forgotten
what Easter is all about.  Whatever the
season of Easter means to people, the end of Easter is reached and then many
forget the meaning of the day. 

So what are we to do after the excitement of Easter is
over?  Do we just go about living our
lives the same old way?  Or does the
experience of Easter change us and shape our life, or least refresh our
standing commitment to our faith?

I want to make two observations about Easter Sunday.  The first is that while I’m always happy to see
more people in church, there is a sadness that is attached to the higher
numbers.  The sadness is that those same
people who see a need to attend Easter services rarely see a need to come back
again until Christmas.  Somehow they have
missed the importance of what took place at the resurrection and just how
transforming that one event can be.

My second observation is that as followers of Christ we
shouldn’t need a special day to celebrate His resurrection.  Whatever unique feeling, blessing, worship,
joy or significance we attach to Easter should not be confined to one day of
the year.  Easter should be an everyday
event for us.  I have no problem setting
aside a day to remember such an remarkable event, as long as whatever is good
about that day carries over to every other day of our lives.

God knew how difficult it would be for our finite minds
to comprehend the truth of Jesus’ resurrection.  He even sent an angel to the tomb to
redirect the women’s thoughts from doubt and pain to faith and joy.  “Why do you look for the living among the
dead? He is not here; He has risen!”
(Luke 24:5-6)

Christ took on a human body, and through His death and
resurrection, triumphed over sin and death when He rose from the grave.  Jesus is not a fictional character in a play.  He no longer occupies a tomb.  And
just as He appeared to His disciples in His glorified, risen body so He
continues to encourage His faithful followers through the Holy Spirit.

When the His followers gather for worship on Sunday they
are testifying to the world that Jesus Christ is alive.  His living body, the church, is in the world
as a witness to God’s miraculous work in Jesus.  By the living Spirit of Christ the church is
empowered to declare the truth of Christ’s resurrection.  The church speaks the words of Christ, who
said, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be
crucified and on the third day be raised again.” (Luke 24:7)

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, God raised up His
church to witness to the Almighty power of God and to testify that, “The Christ
will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and
forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning
at Jerusalem.”
(Luke 24:46-47)   

A sinner sanctified and regenerated by the Holy Spirit
sees Christ clothed in power, strength, honor, and glory.  And as members of Christ’s holy church,
sinners living in the new life given them by Jesus Christ are called to
surrender all to His authority.

The living Christ calls believers to a life of obedient
servanthood to God.  And Christ empowers
His servants through grace given through the Holy Spirit to be His loving
ambassadors in the world, and ministers of reconciliation to those perishing in
sin and death. 

As members of the church of Jesus Christ the faithful
must surrender all claims to this world and be subjects of the living Lord.  The fear that grips us when we think of this
submission is the reason we often want to roll the stone back over the entrance
to the tomb.  But Christ calls us to a
life of obedience.  By His grace He turns
our hearts toward God and encourages us to do the work of God through His

The church is the risen body of Christ.  And on the day after Easter, and each day
after that, the stone remains rolled away from the entrance of Christ’s tomb,
and all God’s people must begin the kingdom work of proclaiming the eternal
truth to a dying world that Christ is alive!

The living Christ expects His followers to imitate Him in
the world every day, go and make disciples, and be strengthened by the truth
that Jesus is alive!

“And he is the head of the body, the
church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in
everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was
pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or
things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

(Colossians 1:18-20)

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