The big day has come and gone. Your Easter duds now hang in a closet, waiting for the same time next year. Just make sure the Easter miracle isn’t hanging in your closet with them.
The Problem with Celebration
Back in 2015, the Ohio State University won the National Football Championship. I wasn’t able to watch the game, so I monitored it on a live site. At first that seemed a bad idea. Plenty of Oregon fans were in the forum, providing play-by-play analyses and predicting OSU would go down in flames. The trash talk was almost more than I could bear. That made it all the more delicious when we pulled out the win.
A lot of Buckeye fans can recite the stats of that night—how many yards were run and who did what—but few of us know the after-game stats. Like the record number of times the Columbus police department had to be called out, and the fact that eighty-nine fires were set.
Apparently, we don’t know how to celebrate victory. Folks in the sports bars shouted, cheered, and high-fived, and then some of them went out and lit a couch on fire.
It doesn’t follow.
Jesus Rose…What Do We Do with the Win?
Every Easter Sunday we Christians gather to celebrate a greater victory, the biggest of all. A man, Jesus, broke death. But we hardly know what to do with that incredible fact, so we hunt for eggs. Eat a lot of chocolate. And then there’s the thing with the bunny.
All that stuff is fine, but again, none of it follows. Complicating things even further, the day after all the ill-fitted festivities, Monday morning arrives. The alleged biggest thing in the world that happened on Sunday seems to have altered nothing inside the Dilbert cubicle. Now what?
The question is best answered by understanding that the resurrection of Christ is more than an event celebrated once a year; it’s a life.
Consider what Paul wrote after devoting most of 1 Corinthians 15 to resurrection:
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57).
Notice the apostle didn’t conclude this chapter with the thought of God giving Jesus the victory, but more specifically, that God shares this accomplishment with us. Truly, Jesus triumphed, but then God distributes it. The forever life, the eternal life that can’t be snuffed out by death, is ours to share in common with the Son of God.
But then, something follows:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58)
“Therefore” means a certain reality ought to come along behind resurrection, something that makes sense.
First, we’re told to be “steadfast.” Life in the wake of resurrection is like an engine that neither revs too high nor idles too low. It is steady and ongoing, not subject to interruption or distraction.
Life after resurrection is also “immovable,” not blown around by circumstances, or even tragedies. Think of Mount Everest, standing there for eons. Every manner of winter storm has assaulted it. For sure there’s been some soil displacement, but the mountain doesn’t go anywhere.
Life in the aftermath of resurrection is an “abounding” life. Consider a vineyard crowded in clusters of grapes with each grape so full, it’s about to burst. Likewise, resurrection life abounds with faithfulness and affection in a marriage. Or related to money, it abounds in generosity. Or with parenting it abounds in diligence and patience. Or at work it abounds in righteousness and fair play. Or when it comes to service, it abounds in joy.
This life knows. It has a deep-seated intuition that the work of the Lord is not a waste of time. Death cannot come along and swallow up what we’ve done. Far from becoming stingy, and small, and idle, we proliferate the Lord’s work, knowing there’s more than this brief season of mortal existence. With a limitless life in front of us, we can afford to be gracious and bold.
Look Deeper than Easter Baskets
The empty tomb and rolled away stone is one of Easter’s most popular icons. Try to see through it. See through the calendar day itself, with all its lilies, and legions of spiffy boys and girls going to church with shiny patent leather shoes. See a man rising from the dead on Sunday, but catch a glimpse of the reality and power He inaugurated for Monday.
You might say, “I have none of this experience.” Remember though, that these verses are written to “My beloved brothers”—those who have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Still, as a Christian you may find yourself not resonating with Paul’s words. You may have wandered away from this life and begun to live the old, failing, dying mortal life once again. If so, it is only a matter of your coming back. Now is the time. Don’t let yourself believe any more of your own excuses. Not when life this great already belongs to you.
However, it may be that you have never yet placed your trust in Christ. When you believe in Him, His victory becomes yours, and the potential of resurrection—that steadfast, immovable, abounding life— becomes yours.
No need to wait another year, for another Easter. Jesus died and rose to enable a certain kind of life in the here and now.
Let’s turn Easter Sunday into Easter Monday.