Another Easter celebration has come and gone. For some, it is a time to visit family and friends. For others it meant nothing - just another holiday to spend relaxing or organising parties and events.
To the Christian however, what Easter represents is fundamental to our faith. It has nothing to do with Easter eggs or Bunnies but its foundation rests in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The days leading to Easter, is the season of lent, which is meant to be a period of fasting, praying and meditating on the sufferings of Jesus leading to His death on the cross of calvary. It is common for people, even those who are not committed Christians to give up something they like during the season of lent. Now that Easter has come and gone, what next? For many, Easter has become a distant memory. They are already thinking of the next thing to look forward to.
I have discovered that this attitude is not limited to the current generation. It happened even then the death of Jesus was still very fresh.
“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognising him.” (Luke 24: 13-16)
In the scripture above, we are told that these two men were walking and talking about everything that had happened, in this case the events leading to Jesus being crucified on the cross. If this story had ended here, we would have no clue what their disposition was whether they were in despair or full of faith and hope.
We learn from the scripture that Jesus began walking with them but they were prevented by God from recognising Jesus.
“What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” Jesus asked them. They looked at Jesus, not quite believing that he did not know about an event that must have travelled far and near. They looked sad and downcast, not quite believing that the things they had witnessed really happened. One of them named Cleopas replied Jesus, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days” (Luke24:18,NLT)
Jesus wasn’t about to let them off the hook yet, “What things?” He asked them. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.” Luke 24:19b - 21,NLT)
“We had hoped...” This showed the state of the heart of these disciples of Jesus. They had so quickly forgotten all the things He had taught them as well as what the scriptures had said concerning Him. Their hopes were high when Jesus was alive, now that they had seen Him die on the cross, their hopes had been shattered. It looked like Jesus was the Messiah they were waiting for but now? It seemed they were mistaken all along.
Isn’t that a picture of the attitude of many of us today? Jesus has become distant even to many of us who claim to be Christians. We need Easter to remind us of what Jesus did. After Easter, we go back to our old ways, living life as we see fit. We despair about the things we see around us, what we hear in the news and things we hear from others. It doesn’t look like things are getting better in the world.
When Jesus began speaking to these two men, something burned in their hearts. They didn’t know what it was but they knew that this man was saying things that connected with their spirits. It was after He disappeared that the realised it was Jesus!
Easter may be over but let us not forget what Jesus did. Let us live each day remembering what He did and offering our lives as a living sacrifice which is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1)
Jesus spoke to those men on the way to Emmaus and He is still speaking today. Will you listen to Him?