Yesterday, the world celebrated Easter Sunday. This one seemed to hold a little bit more power than Easter Sunday normally does. I believe that is because of what we have been through over the past year. At this point a year ago, we were all locked away in our houses as a way to protect us from an invisible threat. Churches did not convene together to shout our praises that Christ is risen. We watched and celebrated, as best that we could, by watching a service on a little screen. “It doesn’t feel much like Easter,” was a refrain that was heard over and over again. Praise be to God that this year was different. We were allowed to come together again and worship the resurrected Savior in person. At my church, we even sang as a congregation for only the second time since the pandemic began. Yes, we still had to wear masks and be social distanced. The battle with Covid is not yet over, but we were together.
I am reminded of the disciples on that Sunday morning, almost 2000 years ago. John and Peter had made their way to the tomb, and John made a point to make sure that we are all aware that he beat Peter in that footrace (John 20:4). They investigated the tomb and found it empty. Then, they went back to the place in which all of the disciples were hiding out. They must have been afraid for their lives. Their leader had just been killed and probably thought that the same could happen to them. They were not sure what was going to happen next, but they were together. How do you go back to a normal life after you spent the past three years living life with Jesus? Of course, Jesus came to them. He showed them the holes his hands and feet to prove it was truly him. John 20:20 tells us that the disciples were “overjoyed” when they saw him. In a moment, they went from afraid to joyous because they had encountered the risen Messiah.
Can you imagine what they were feeling the day after that first Easter? I cannot imagine that they went back to life as normal. They had become witnesses to the fact that death and sin could not defeat Christ. They now knew that Jesus was and is everything that he ever claimed to be. There was not a shred of doubt that he was indeed the Son of God and the one who came to bring eternal life to all that would believe in them. That moment would go on to fuel them for the rest of their days. This encounter gave them all that they needed to take the name of Jesus as far as they could and to all that would listen. Because the risen Lord came to them, they would go on to dedicate their lives to him. For all but John, this dedication would end up costing them their lives.
Today is the day after Easter. What are we going to do with it? Are we going to go back to our normal, mundane lives? Are we going to take the greatest story ever told and lock it away for another year? Or are we going to the allow the fact that we have encountered the risen Savior to fuel us to tell the world about him? I hope that we keep shouting “he lives” every day and not just on Resurrection Sunday.
The tomb is empty! I was in Israel four years ago, and I can assure you that it is still empty. This is the greatest news that the world has ever received. Everyone needs to know that Christ is risen; he is risen indeed. They need to know that when Jesus stepped foot out of his burial place, he emerged with their salvation in his pierced hands. They need to know that he walked out to prove to them that he everything that he said is true— most importantly, that he loves them. We should not walk out of an Easter service the same way in which we went in. Our hearts should be, “Burning within us” (Luke 24:32).
We have encountered the living God. This is the greatest news that we can share with the world. This should be what gets us through each day. This should be the answer to every doubt that we face. This is the weapon that we should use when Satan asks us if God really loves us. This is the rock that our faith must be built upon. Christ walked out of that tomb to prove that he loves you. We forever live in that Easter moment. Each morning, as you wake up and prepare to face the day, say to yourself, “Christ the Lord is risen today!” Then, say it to all who will listen.