Well then, the anticipated day of Resurrection and all of the buzz surrounding it have passed. If you believe it, Christ rose from the dead and by doing so defeated death and secured our salvation in Him. So what is the next horizon for us to look toward? Now what?
The disciples and Jesus' family went back to Jerusalem and devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 1:12-14). Somehow they had witnessed not one, but two of the most jarring events of their lives all within the course of a three day weekend. Jesus was dead, but now he was alive, and not only that, he had ascended to heaven! And all they had was these last instructions from Him: "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8) They were confused, they were scared, and they didn't know exactly what to do.
Maybe you know exactly what Jesus wants you to be doing. If that's you, then you should stop reading this and go do it. I suspect that you are like me though. The path that Jesus wants you to take is still coming in to focus. The disciples were in this boat with us. They need and we need to seek God's direction through prayer and continue to mature in our faith so when Jesus gives us our marching orders, we are ready to move out! The disciples did just that and look what happened (read Acts Chapter 2). The Church was born!
We do not need to look to the heavens to await Christ's return, we need to be preparing ourselves, our community for when he does! The real question is not "what now?", but instead, "will you be ready?" Let's make a commitment together to answer with a resounding yes!
The Good and the Bad
I don't know about you, but to me Easter does not seem like just a time of celebration. Amidst Jesus' resurrection, we also celebrate his wrongful arrest, trial, and his being put to death. To me, celebrate is the last thing on my mind as I consider what he must have gone through. Not only this, but that I was some of the reason he had to go to the Cross just further drives home the feelings of shock, sadness, and even guilt. So how can we celebrate all of this?
In Mark 8 we read, that Jesus "began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again." (8:31) Jesus knew the specifics of what was to come even before his wrongful arrest. Still, his most outspoken follower Peter tries to explain that this will not happen. Jesus' response, I think, addresses our divided emotions about this season. He says, "Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns." (8:33)
Jesus' future was anything but the future that we would expect for God's Son, but he actively sought after it because he was focused on God's will above his own will!
From our self-preserving perspectives, Jesus could have easily established himself as the King, overthrew the religious leaders of his day, and brought about his kingdom without having to give up his life. However, that was not God's plan, and even though Jesus felt the same tensions we do, his focus was on God's will above his own. This week, consider what God's will is in your life (hint: 1 Thessalonians 4:3). What if your focus was on that instead of alleviating your circumstances? Maybe, just maybe, we can celebrate this Easter knowing that all good things work together for God's purposes…and so do the bad things. Once we have thrown in our lot with God, then our future with Him is secure!