On Maundy Thursday, 2018, we were surprised to read the notice of a pending funeral service for “Jan Payne” in the newspaper! She quickly took to social media to assure friends she was alive and kicking. She said that she wanted to celebrate Easter in Amarillo this year, not in Heaven.
The Gospel of Luke concludes with the dramatic story of the resurrection. The author portrays the human drama of that amazing day with surprising candor. The disciples—and the Jewish world—had no idea that the Messiah would be crucified. N. T. Wright: “Some were hoping for a Messiah… who would point the way out of Israel’s present troubles, but nobody, as far as we can tell, thought that such a person would suffer… There was no template of expectations… understanding the death of Jesus as a messianic victory and connecting it with the long-awaited divine return.” (Revolution, p. 64-65)
The days after Easter brought new and wonderful experiences to the disciples. “Nobody in Judaism had expected the Messiah to die, and therefore naturally nobody had imagined the Messiah rising from the dead. (Revolution, p. 47)
He proved his resurrection from the dead – 24:45-46
He taught them the full truth of His mission and what they must do – 24:44-49; Acts 1:1-8
He ascended to Heaven – 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
They worshipped Him as God—24:52-53
They proclaimed the wonderful events – 24:53; Acts 2:14-41
They lived out a new Kingdom lifestyle – Acts 2:42-47
Easter should be the renewal of a new way of living for each believer. The week after Easter,
“ought to be an eight-day festival with champagne served after morning prayer or even before, with lots of alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems! Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats into the air?... This is our greatest festival… we should put the flags out! In particular, if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up… If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off… then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life that ought to be blooming… some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving… That’s what Easter is all about.” (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, p. 256-7)
What could be some personal goals that are inspired by the living Jesus and the Kingdom of God?