If you’re a follower of Jesus, this might be the most dangerous day of the year. After weeks of anticipating the solemn remembrance of the violent death of God’s Son, we lifted our hearts and hands in celebratory weekend worship. For a disciple, the thought of what Jesus did is enough to stir unashamed tears of gratitude, mixed with laughter at the very notion of total forgiveness.
With Easter candy still in the freezer and memes of inspirational quotes still populating our Facebook streams, we face the most dangerous day in the life of a disciple. If Jesus died to cover my sins and came alive to put destruction in its place, what difference will it make? Will I be weak after Passion Week?
The hope of a disciple
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain … And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins … If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (From 1 Corinthians 15:12-20)
So we are NOT to be pitied. We DO have hope.
Jesus’ sacrificial giving of his life IS enough to cover our weaknesses. HE is enough since I am NOT. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after Easter, HE is enough, and I am covered in his enough-ness. It would be foolish to “take back his cross” and drag it around on my own.
That worry I have … that temptation I’m struggling with … that insecurity I’m wrestling over … that bitterness I can’t shake … that offense I can’t forgive … that fear I harbor … Easter gives us hope to let go of those burdens. As a follower of Jesus, my whole self has just been crucified with Christ, my worries and weakness and everything. (Galatians 2:20)
The relief of the resurrection was ringing in the disciples’ ears with such force it must’ve taken all of their energy just to breathe. The shock of such a singular Sunday morning was followed by an equally singular Monday morning. The political climate was tense, the group of followers scattered, their own futures unsure, and their emotions exhausted. The morning after Jesus came back to life started a week unlike any other. A week that demands all who know to live differently. And therein lies the danger: differently.
What’s different now than before we were aware of the Resurrection? Freshly aware.
We’re good at celebrating the rush of the empty tomb, but in the week after The Week, we find it hard to believe the truth still sticks personally. We can hardly help ourselves from crawling back up to the Place of the Skull to get a cross and drag it around. We’re good at it. Instead of living in the grace of Jesus doing what we can never do, we get back to the work of trying to be good enough not to need that Easter cross. Despite the fact Jesus is alive, we find ourselves fearful we won’t be likable enough, popular enough, trending enough or relevant enough to keep our place in the glow of glory.
In our weakness, we can spend the week after Passion Week trying not to need the cross.
If Jesus is alive and well after bleeding out our burdens on the cross, it makes no sense to retrieve the violent frame and make it our own. This is the week to choose whether to walk in grace or crawl back to self-dependence and attempt to overcome our own weakness. Will we keep living Christ-centered lives or return to self sufficiency, as if Easter was just a day on the calendar? It’s a dangerous week to be a disciple.
Each morning in this first week after Resurrection Sunday, how about starting our day with this prayer:
Oh Father Who gave Your perfect Son for imperfect me, thank You for doing what I could never do. Forgive me for sneaking back to gather up my self sufficiency, when I know I desperately need You. Without Your sacrifice and resurrection, I would have no hope. But I do! Today, help me concentrate on knowing my life is in You, my risen Lord!