Easter and it’s egg-filled fun is over. Chocolate bunnies have lost their ears and marshmallow peeps have been demolished. Walmart is gearing up for The 4th while the rest of us are getting back into our usual weekly routine.
But as I clear away Easter baskets and boiled egg remains, I realize something. This Monday had to be anything but routine for the Disciples.
The Monday after Resurrection Sunday was only the beginning; a whole new life and adventure was unfolding for them. Jesus’ sudden and gruesome death was still fresh in the disciples’ minds. The shock and sorrow of watching Him suffer was a surreal moment they couldn’t stop reliving. But mostly, I imagine the buzz of rumors and gossip was all but a deafening roar.
Could He really be alive? Was this some cruel joke the Romans were playing? And what about the Mary’s and those who say they’ve seen Him? Are we all losing our minds?!
Having lost our earthly hero and leader, Momma and I feel somehow acquainted with Jesus’ earthly family and friends. Our loss has been so deep, it’s as if our minds can better process their loss; our hearts can utter their despair. We can almost close our eyes and imagine standing in their place…
Oh the incomprehensible shock, denial and physical illness they surely felt as they witnessed their loved one, their hero and supposed Savior, fall silent in unexpected death. The dream-like state they endured as they moved through the motions and events of that day.
This can’t be happening. He is our leader, our friend, our hope for tomorrow. Didn’t You give Him to us, God? How could You let this happen? Why are You taking Him? Why…?
Such a horrible day. So many tears. Shortness of breath. A gnawing, guttural ache. The realization that all their hopes and dreams and expectations have been dashed to pieces.
It really is finished. He’s in the grave. It’s over. What do we do now? How can we go on without him? How…?
The chaotic confusion that must have gripped their minds when they heard the rumors. While I can’t fathom someone telling me my daddy is alive, that they’ve actually seen him, I can imagine the simultaneous terror and ecstatic hope those words would elicit in my soul.
Could it really be? He’s back? We get him back?! This nightmare is over?! I must be going crazy– I saw him die! I watched him buried…but now the tomb is empty? That’s not possible! And yet, he’s not there…?
…On the days to follow
Oh, but then! The glorious fear that surely paralyzed their hearts as Jesus himself stood before them! Like the Mary’s who saw Jesus as they left the tomb, it would be the most joyful and terrifying moment of my life! (Matthew 28:8-10)
He is here! In the flesh! Alive!! I can’t breathe…How can this be?! I saw him die!! But it doesn’t matter because I see him NOW! HE IS HERE!!!
Oh what I would give to see Daddy on this Monday. To touch him, see him smile, hear him chuckle and tell me not to fear. And then to share a meal with him!
It’s mind-boggling, but these believers were able to do just that!! The Friend they saw tortured, they now could touch! The Teacher whose voice they knew, they could hear once more! The rumors were true; Jesus was alive–standing right in their midst!!
Yes, Easter and the following 40 days Jesus walked this earth now mean so much more than before.
It’s not just the start of springtime and eggs and new life. It’s not just the Sunday we all go to church to honor what Jesus did. It is The Day and weeks we stake our claim on. The season we find glorious joy in. It is no longer a past tense remembrance to move on from come Monday, but instead a very present reality to rejoice in every day! It is proof of all our hopes and dreams!
Because Jesus rose from the grave, my daddy will rise from the grave. And my baby brother. And my grandma. And my grandpa. And all of the friends and family I’ve lost who put their faith in Him. Those who knew Jesus’ salvation and trusted in His resurrection in this life WILL rise again. And I will, too!!
How can I live out my days and not make a big deal about that? How can I possibly overlook it for a chocolate bunny and jelly beans? How can any of us refuse this offer, this hope? Jesus. Is. ALIVE! He is NOT in the grave. We CAN believe this!
Oh friend, how I desperately hope you know Jesus. The alive, always-present, death-defying Jesus. He loves you so much. And that’s present-tense, too. He loves you NOW. Today. Monday. Just the way you are. He died for you while you were still a sinner. And even better, He conquered the grave for you before you ever believed it possible.
Yep, Momma and I agree: Easter is our favorite now.
Come December, you can bet your boots we’ll celebrate because the manger was full. But today, Monday, we live in awe because the tomb is empty.
“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.”
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NLT
“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?””
John 11:25-26 NLT