The Day After Easter

So Easter is over now; the chocolate eggs are on sale and the white bunny dolls are in the clearance pile. It’s Monday, and everything is back to normal. All the hype about victory, being made alive in Christ, and everything else the empty tomb points to seems further away than 24 hours ago. You’re back at school, or back at work, and it’s a Monday just like any other Monday.

I think it’s normal to question the significance of the resurrection in light of Monday morning. Sunday is filled with exclamations about the meaning of the empty tomb. Many churches have baptism services and it’s so wonderful to see all of these people making a public commitment to Christ. All the social media posts about having a Happy Easter and the #heisrisen hashtags lift us up and make Sunday even more significant.

But Monday can take the empty tomb and make it… well, empty. Isn’t Christianity supposed to change everything? Why does my life not feel that way?

On the morning that Jesus rose from the grave, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb of Jesus to mourn the loss of his body. She thought that someone had taken the body and placed it elsewhere. (She didn’t believe that Jesus resurrected because that’s not a reasonable first explanation for what happened. No one in history had ever risen again from the dead by their own power. At least until now.) Jesus comes down to the tomb to speak with her, and because of his newly glorious, resurrected body, she didn’t recognize him. She thought he was the gardener, and maybe he was the person that took the body of Jesus. But when Jesus speaks to her, she’s able to recognize him and embraces him. He says to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17)

The good news of Easter keeps getting better.

Wait, what? How?

See, on Monday morning, the tomb is still empty. Two thousand years after Jesus walked out of the tomb, he never returned. That’s significant. But of further significance is where he is now. He’s not walking the Earth any longer because he’s ruling it. He’s on a throne in heaven, sovereignly ruling over all of the universe. 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.

John, the author of the last gospel in our Bibles also wrote the book of Revelation, and here’s what he says about his encounter with Jesus, about 30 years after Jesus rose again:

[12] Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, [13] and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. [14] The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, [15] his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. [16] In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
Revelation 1:12-16

Jesus seems markedly different from when he was walking the earth. Though this description of Jesus seems kinda of scary, it’s ultimately good news. Because as effective as Jesus was in his 3-year ministry on Earth, he can do far more now. Through the power of Holy Spirit, Jesus has been ruling the world for the last two thousand years. He has been faithful to his church, and we see that throughout history, as nothing has stopped the church from growing. The picture that John gives us of Jesus is that of a mighty warrior king, ready to defend his bride, the church. The first Easter was featured 11 terrified disciples hiding out in an upper room somewhere, and here we are thousands of years later, worshippers from ALL corners of the globe celebrating the resurrection of their Savior, Jesus Christ.

So Happy Day after Easter, Jesus is not just risen, #heisreigning.

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