Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. ~Mark 16:9-11
Easter is a time of joy and a time when we celebrate Jesus conquering death and rising from the dead. It is a time for families to get together, to wear new “Easter” clothes, and get candy.
Now that Easter Sunday is over are our lives any different? Now that we have spent the last 40 days waiting and preparing for Easter, are we changed, or do we just continue with our lives like nothing happened?
Often when we think of the Easter story, we have this idea that once Jesus revealed himself to the women at the tomb, the word quickly spread. We think the disciples all believed the good news of Jesus rising from the dead - except for doubting Thomas, who doubted until he felt the very wounds in Jesus’s hands and side. Despite what tradition might have us believe, that wasn’t the case.
In Mark’s account of the resurrection, Mary Magdalene goes and tells the disciples what she has seen, but they don’t believe her. Then Jesus appeared to two unnamed followers. After this encounter, they went and told the eleven disciples, and yet the disciples still didn’t believe. For some, days and even weeks went by, but they still didn’t understand the magnitude of Easter. After Jesus was buried, some hid out of fear. Others went back to work, doing what they did before they followed Jesus as if the last three years hadn’t changed their lives forever.
Sometimes I feel that, as Christians, we want to be like Mary in the Easter story. We want to go out on Easter morning and tell everyone about Jesus rising from the dead. We take photos and post on social media that “Christ has Risen.” Despite wanting to be like Mary, or even feeling like Mary for a day, when Monday comes we find ourselves being more like the eleven than we are like Mary. Our lives go back to the things we know. We default to what makes us comfortable, and things are not really any different. However, when Jesus showed up in the upper room after his death to reveal himself to the disciples, he gave them the life-changing gift of the Holy Spirit, and they were never the same.
What if this Easter, instead of just falling back into our normal, everyday routines, we make space for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives? I encourage you to invite the Holy Spirit to guide you as we live into the hope and joy that is Easter.