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Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

What has Easter done to you?

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On Sunday, hundreds of millions of Christians streamed in to churches around the world. Exit interviews would reveal a wide variety of answers to what the resurrection means. It’s a family day, an egg-hunt day, a get-dressed-up day, a big brunch day, a happy day. Those who listened that morning would tell what their preachers said: Some reminded us of Paul’s proclamation that, “Death has lost its sting.” (1 Cor 15) Others took us to Jesus serving Peter breakfast on the beach, to assure him that he forgives his (and our) failure of nerve. (John 21) Other pulpits rang out with the salvation of the cross, confirmed by the empty tomb, and still others emphasized how Jesus opened heaven’s gates for us. (Acts 8) Many worshipped a Jesus who, because of the resurrection, properly reigns atop the cosmos with all knees bowed to him. (Phil 2) And still others noticed that the disciples (students) have now become apostles (sent ones) – that resurrection gives birth to mission. (Acts 1.8)

Even worldwide Easter exit polls wouldn’t capture what I want. I’m interested in who we newly became on the way out of worship. Twenty centuries of Christianity have probed the layers of that empty tomb’s meaning. Jesus’ ancient explosion out of a borrowed tomb meant many things, and I’m glad we’ve noticed that. But the disciples surely couldn’t fathom them yet. I doubt they were even trying. This motley crew of disciples, who never quite “got” who their strange leader was, who had failed him at crucial moments, who now felt the pang of guilty loss. If they could even think beyond their guilt and grief, they assumed their next steps would take them back to the fishing nets and tax booths of Galilee. Emptiness.

Easter changed them. In fact, among all the reasons to believe that Jesus actually came out of that ancient tomb is the impact his resurrection had on the disciples. Peter denied Jesus three times on that Thursday night. Fifty-two days later, he preached a powerful and very risky sermon in the middle of Jerusalem. A few weeks after that, the chief priest and other Jewish authorities who handed Jesus over to Pilate threw Peter in jail because he kept talking about Jesus when they forbade it. Transformed.

What has Easter done to you?