Day 8: The First Day of New Creation
Take a Break
Make It Personal
There was no gallery of fans outside the garden tomb on Sunday morning. None of Jesus’ disciples were standing around with the Jewish Scriptures in hand counting down the seconds before the stone was rolled away. The followers of Jesus were coming to grips with the death of Jesus. They weren’t fools, after all, they knew that death was final. For the Jewish people, Sunday marked the end of Sabbath and the first day of the work week. Eventually, life would go back to the way it was, the way things had always been. Or would they?
It all started when a couple of women who followed Jesus went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices (they had rushed through the burial on Friday since Sabbath was approaching). To their surprise, they found that the stone had been rolled away…and the body was gone! Now, it’s important to note, nobody who encountered the puzzle of an empty tomb that day thought the solution was that “Jesus has been raised from the dead!” Many (but not all) Jews believed in a resurrection of all God’s people at the end of time. No one was expecting God to do it for one man right in the middle of the story. It was, in other words, hard to believe. Easier for the women to believe that the man outside the tomb was a gardener than to believe He was their Lord. Easier for the disciples to believe the body had been stolen when those same women, the first witnesses to the resurrection, told them what they had seen than to believe Jesus had been raised from the dead.
Jesus once remarked that when God’s Kingdom comes it would be a lot like a mustard seed–small, insignificant, and unremarkable. But, when seeds go into the ground, they die and from them comes new life (John 12:24). And in the case of the mustard seed, it eventually becomes larger than all the other garden plants, more like a tree, so that the birds are able to make their nest within its branches. What a perfect way to think about Sunday.
The whole world woke up on Sunday morning to the possibilities of new life, only they didn’t know it yet. Hope–the hope of healing and redemption, of new creation and life after death–had been unleashed in the most unexpected way imaginable. The only evidence for all of this, however, was a handful of frightened and confused Jewish men and women trying to figure out if they could believe what their eyes were telling them. It turns out they could. And the disciples did the only thing you can do when you see the man you believed to be the Son of God alive from the dead: they went out into all the world and announced the good news. God has kept His promises, King Jesus is alive, and you can find true life in Him. Easter morning wasn’t the happy ending to a sad story; it was the exciting beginning of a new story. And once the mustard seed sprouts, there is no stopping it.
And so today, Easter Sunday, those of us who have been captured by that good news celebrate the surprise and the thrill of hope. This will not be like any Easter we’ve had before, but then again, nothing has been the same for 2000 years. So, lift up a joyful noise. Pray and sing songs of celebration. King Jesus has risen from the grave!
Make It Stick
What do you do when you get good news or when something is worth celebrating? Whatever it is, do it in spades today. There is much to rejoice over and be excited about! Additionally, we would love for you to join us, your Journey family, online at 9a, 10:30a, or 12p as we celebrate our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Watch “Easter Jam” online and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!
Students are being encouraged to tune into Journey Online with their friends via Facetime. Perhaps another way to celebrate is for the whole family to put together a Spotify playlist of your favorite worship songs and share with each other.