Tag Archives: the Great Commission

Life after Easter

“So. Jesus the Way, the ways of Jesus. He shows the way. He also is the way. He doesn’t point out the way and then step aside and let us get there our own as best we can. Jesus points out the way, but then he takes the initiative, inviting us to go with him, taking us with him across land and sea, through all kinds of weather, avoiding dead ends and seductive byways, watching out for danger and alerting us to enemies.”

| Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way: a conversation on the ways that Jesus is the way

Where do we go now? We’ve reached the end of the story for Jesus. He died, was buried and has been resurrected. It’s the end of the road for his disciples, right? We can go home too.

Jesus’s resurrection is the high point of our liturgy. “Christ is risen; he is risen indeed.” Our work here is done, yes? No and not so fast.

We still have a long way to go. “Thy kingdom come.” There are also some changes that still need to take place. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

After the resurrection, we are commissioned with the disciples. Jesus says to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.18-20, NRSV). Jesus tells the disciples to get moving. His work is finished but ours has only begun.

Hands extended on a cross are now shooing us out the door. “Go out into the world and talk to strangers. Spread out and spread the word. Make students of my teachings,” Jesus says.

He adds, “And you have all that you need: God above you, the Holy Spirit within you and me walking with you every step of the way. And don’t you worry; I’m never leaving you again.” We will not lose him again; we will not come this way, pass by his tomb in sorrow again.

The worst is behind us and the kingdom of God is before us. Life after Easter looks like that of the early Church as recorded in the book of Acts. As the wind of the Holy Spirit blows, we, like Peter, John and the other disciples, walk in the authority of Jesus’s name. Preaching, teaching, baptizing, serving, our hands are extended. Jesus is and likewise, we are just getting started.

He is risen! Now, what?

Empty-Tomb-Picture-07Life after Easter can seem anticlimactic.  We have suffered like Jesus during Lent.  We have remembered him while partaking of Communion on Maundy Thursday.  We have reflected on the meaning of his death on Good Friday and waited in anticipation for Sunday morning.

Well, Sunday has come and gone.  The resurrection is past; the day is behind us.  The tomb is empty.

Jesus did what he said he would do.  End of story.  Now, what?  What’s next for his disciples?

Good question.  After the resurrection, Jesus didn’t leave them.  But, he kept on appearing.  According to the gospel writers, he kept showing up.  Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles, “After his suffering, he presented himself alive by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (1.3, NRSV).  It wasn’t over then and it’s not over now.

The work of the resurrection was finished but there was still work to be done.  As his disciples, we have a hand in it and likewise, are commissioned by Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.19-20, NRSV).  He is risen!  Now, tell someone about it.