If you’re like us, this weekend was probably pretty busy for you! From Easter egg hunts and dyeing eggs to Easter baskets and church, Easter went by in a blur! For me, it was especially hectic because my husband had to work, so I had to deal with all of the Easter festivities on my own, although he was able to get in some Easter egg hunting with the kids on Saturday!
I had grand plans for our little family, too! I put the kids down early on Saturday night, their beautiful Easter outfits laid out neatly for Sunday morning. I had bought biscuits and sausage to make for a special Easter morning breakfast. I had all of the Easter baskets done and set out at everyone’s place at our dining room table. My plan was to wake up at 5:30 with Jamie (he had to leave for work at 6:20) to have some Easter breakfast with him, get myself ready, and then get the kids up and ready to walk down the street to the church in our neighborhood that was having a sunrise service at 7:15. Then the kids and I would return home from our leisurely morning walk, eat breakfast, finish getting ready for church, and be at our church by 9:30. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend Easter morning, right?
Except I didn’t figure on Ephraim screaming for over an hour during the night because he was hungry (from angrily refusing to eat his supper because he wanted marshmallows instead!). And I didn’t consider Hannah having a nightmare (probably from Brother’s screaming) and trying to crawl into bed with us. So when 5:30 came around, guess who did not get out of bed? But I still thought that I would get up at 6 and still make it to the sunrise service. Except that I didn’t get up until 7:30! And Hannah and Ephraim didn’t get up until 8:30. And the kids decided that they wanted candy for breakfast instead of the yummy biscuits and gravy I had made. And nobody wanted their teeth brushed. And beds were not made. And we didn’t make it to church until almost 10:00!
And it just continued to go downhill from there. We were late to my in-law’s. We were late for naps. We were late to my parents’ house. We were frustrated, tired, irritated, and not at all enjoying the resurrection of our Lord. Easter was extremely exhausting this year!
I wonder if that first Easter was anything like mine. Consider how things started out that morning. The disciples, Mary, and Mary Magdalene certainly didn’t get up that morning glorifying God, I’m sure. After all, the One they thought was the Savior had died. In fact, He had been dead for three days. I imagine there was probably a lot of weeping and mourning for the loss of the One they loved. I imagine there was some anger at God for allowing Christ to die and perhaps some anger at Christ for having led them to believe that He was the King of kings and Lord of lords. I am sure there was confusion regarding what had happened; after all, what had Jesus actually done wrong? Even Pilate didn’t want to sentence Him!
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” – Matt. 27:24
There was probably some fear for their own lives. After all, if the people had killed Jesus, the next most likely victims would be His followers. I am sure that on Easter morning there was absolutely no rejoicing. No singing. No praising God. It seems that perhaps on the third morning after Jesus’ death, there was probably a lot of exhaustion and despair. I am sure that is how I would have felt!
But then came the dawn.
“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. . .” Matt. 28:1a.
Things began to happen.
“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it” – Matt. 28:2.
The soldiers were so frightened, they fell down as though they were dead! And imagine Mary’s and Mary Magdalene’s reactions! Fear? Hope? Joy? Was this their answer from heaven?
And then come the words that they longed to hear and that have continued to give all who believe in Him a blessed hope: “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. . .” (Matt. 28:6a).
Today, in 2012, it is the day after Easter. We made it through the Easter egg hunts, the must-have pictures of the kids in their Easter “best,” the baskets of candy, the Easter feast, and now it is Monday. For many, Monday is the first day of the week – a day to work, go to school, fight traffic, and just generally get back into routine. Easter is behind us, and so we move onto the next holiday. We start planning what to do next weekend. We quickly start to let Easter fade from our memories, completely forgetting that the rest of our year is only blessed if we believe in the real reason for Easter – Christ’s resurrection from the dead, His victory over sin and death, and His unfailing love for us!
Do you know what happened after those women found out that Jesus had “risen, as He said”?
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘All hail.’ And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him” (Matt. 28:9).
Consider what is happening here. These two women are running to tell the disciples what they have heard and seen. They could easily be arrested by the Roman guards. They could be seen as hysterical women, who were overcome by the death of their beloved “Teacher.” They were risking their reputations by running to tell anyone.
They could have simply worshipped Him there and then quietly gone back to their own homes to meditate on the events of the weekend. It was, after all, the first day of the week. I am sure they had responsibilities of their own.
But they did two things. First, they stopped to worship at His feet. Did you stop to worship at Jesus’ feet this morning before you started your day? Did you even speak to Him today? But wasn’t it just yesterday that you were singing at the top of your lungs, surrounded by your fellow churchgoers, “He arose, He arose. Hallelujah, Christ arose”? Then why aren’t you worshipping Him today?
But the women didn’t stop with just their own personal worship time. They ran to tell others! Do you know how many people “celebrated” Easter yesterday for no other reason than just to have something to do? Do you know how many kids think that the Easter bunny is the reason they get candy in brightly-colored baskets once a year? Did you tell anyone why you were celebrating Easter? Did you run and tell anyone that “He arose”?
Perhaps our hearts have grown so hard with commercialism that we Christians are no longer sure why we are celebrating Easter either. Let’s soften our hearts. Let’s go back to the grave, roll the stone away, and discover with Mary and Mary Magdalene that “He is risen, as He said!” And then, with joy, worship at His feet and tell everyone the Good News!
I SERVE A RISEN SAVIOR!!!