I must confess that there are times that I don’t know what to do. I often pray to God for wisdom. But recently, I have been at a loss as to how we should handle Easter during a pandemic. “God, how do we make a big deal about the biggest deal of all? We are supposed to stay in our homes. What do we do?”
I love how God answers so quickly. Even though there are times that I wonder if He is out of the Office, I know it’s not true. But that morning, He answered fast. “Do you suppose they made a big deal about the first Easter?” My first thought was, “Of course.” Then he reminded me. It took some of them a week just to believe it. It was over a month before they made a big deal about it.
So while we hide in our homes from a virus we don’t understand, we are actually more connected with the true atmosphere of the very first Easter. It was not preceded by hope, but fear. There was no great anticipation for Sunday morning. Dread claimed their hearts as they all wondered, “Who’s next on the Sanhedrin’s list?” So they hid. I’m not even sure they prayed, but I know they waited. They waited for God to do something, anything that might save them from their dire situation.
So, let us together embrace the hand we have been dealt this Easter. But, we won’t surrender to it. We know how this turns out. God is on the move, and we can see it. Not one of His promises will fail. Just as Jesus prepared his disciples, “I will rise on the third day.” (Luke 18:33). We also know the truth. Our Father God prevails. His word is truth. This virus, corrupt politicians, economic realities will all bow to His Truth!
John 20:19 (NLT) That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.
They lived with Him almost daily for years. They never experienced fear when they were with Him. When the morning dawned the next day’s adventure would begin. Life with Jesus was a wonderful mystery. They had never lived with such purposeful abandon. With Jesus, they felt invincible but now he was gone. He had been framed, accused, convicted, condemned, humiliated, and murdered. The mother of all viruses had struck its vicious blow upon the Messiah and had won. The infection that plagued this planet since Adam’s rebellion had taken its most crucial victim.
Surely if Jesus could be killed, what hope is there for any of us? Will the wicked “Sanhedrins” of the world always ruin and destroy the lives of the innocent? Will sin, death, and corruption forever run rampant in our streets? Or worse, will it infect our homes? Now we feel the tension of the disciples, don’t we? Now we can connect with that first Easter better than ever before in our lives.
Jesus appeared in the midst of that fear-fest. Eternity’s worst plague had dealt its bitter blow only to fail, but Jesus is ALIVE! The world’s most evil men did their worst, only to experience utter failure. Jesus Is ALIVE!
You can’t stop the Truth. Here He Comes, ready to walk into the midst of your most fearful experience. There to show that HE took on the worst of all and utterly humiliated it, for you!
Luke 24:13-14 (NLT) That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened.
Take A Walk, But No Walk Will Change The Way
The village of Emmaus has not been found. Apparently one of the disciples had “a place” there. Whether that was home or access to a friend’s quarters is unknown. Emmaus means “warm bath”. Its name seems to hint at some kind of escape or getaway from the norm.
Whatever the significance of Emmaus, we find two disciples on their way to it. They walked together as two hurting companions. Desperately they were trying to sort out the events of the Passover weekend in Jerusalem.
Who hasn’t been these two disciples? I cannot count the number of times life has handed me a disappointment. I thank God for the friends who have “walked” with me to an “Emmaus” of sorts. Those moments when we are trying to catch our breath again after having the wind knocked out of us. They are the Emmaus moments.
In this story, two were walking side by side. However, two weren’t enough. The two didn’t have any hope. They could find no answers. They were merely two hurting ones. Companionship was not helping.
It seems Jesus knew the way to Emmaus as well. Jesus knew two broken disciples would never remake each other. They needed a way back home. They were lost on their own. And Jesus, the shepherd who always goes after the lost cause, appeared and showed them the way.
You can’t stop the Way. You can’t block the Way. The WAY has been made and no power on earth or in the heavens will close it.
John 21:3 (NLT) Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
Go Fishing, But No Escape Will Avoid The Life
When people run out of hope, they try to find their way back. Usually, they try to get back to the last place in their life that made sense. For Peter, fishing made sense. Shine the light, throw the net, and reel in the fish. The only problem was, from the day he met Jesus, he couldn’t catch fish.
I bet he was almost in tears by the time dawn arrived that morning. I believe he felt like the worst failure the world had ever seen. Sometimes he would speak and Jesus would smile at him. Another time, he would open his mouth and insert his own foot. This day, Peter was coming to terms with the weight of his denial. So all night he bakes on that horrible mistake, and now, he has no fish.
More than three years he followed Real-Life everywhere he could. He never understood it, but he thought eventually he would get it. Today, however, life is the last thing coursing through his veins.
Jesus liked fish and He LOVED Peter. When The Life sets his eyes on you, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna live, that’s what’s gonna happen.
Thank God for this Easter. Never before have we felt so much in common with those first witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. Never before have we had so much reason to hope. Never before have we had so much of a reason to look forward.
Psalms 30:4-5 (NLT) 4 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.