He is Risen! Now what?

Easter Advent Week 6

This week, we’ll celebrate the excitement of Palm Sunday, the gravity of Good Friday, and the triumph of Resurrection Sunday. Jesus spent three years toiling across Israel alongside his twelve apostles. They, along with the rest of the disciples, were distraught when He was sealed in the tomb and ecstatic when He rose. Well, most of them. Some were shocked, plagued with disbelief, or confused. After all those were addressed, Jesus taught them for forty days, then left. The heartache felt at his accession would’ve been far less compared to when they laid his body in the tomb, but I can still imagine they were hurting. But then what? Jesus, right before He ascended gave two very important instructions: First, go into all the world and tell everyone the Gospel. Second, wait to do so until the Holy Spirit comes upon you (Acts 1).

We live in a culture of instant gratification. I’ve fallen prone to its convenience many times myself. Simply put, we’ve forgotten how to wait. And because we don’t know how to wait, we don’t know how to plan. I try to make healthy meals for my family every night. This included chopping fresh veggies and cooking fresh meat- along with a slew of other steps. I have to plan to start cooking at least an hour before we sit down to eat. But as we’re sitting down to eat, I’m filled with contentment at my creation.

There are some nights when I don’t have the time to spend an hour or more cooking or I’m simply tired of all the work. So then I take the convenient route. But, after eating meals of frozen pre-prepared chicken, I feel bloated and unsatisfied. When we wait and prepare for the best parts of life, without trying to short-cut them, they taste that much sweeter. 

God had a reason to make the disciples wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. First, as I’m writing this tonight, although they most likely would’ve been excited to go out and preach, they were probably also experiencing some grief at seeing Jesus leave to never return in their earthly lives. It is really, really hard to think clearly during times of grief. These ten days, although not long, would’ve given the disciples some time to process all the events that just transpired.

 Not only that, but God was trying to make a point about the covenant and law. Let’s dive into the Jewish holidays once again. On Passover, the Jews celebrate the angel of death passing over their homes in Egypt. Thursday night of Holy Week, Jesus and his disciples were sharing a Passover meal. Jesus, that night, institutes communion, which states that He’s writing a new covenant with His blood. Fifty days after Passover, the Jews had another holiday to celebrate, the Feast of Weeks- Shavuot. 

Shavuot celebrates two things: the first gathering of grains, and Moses receiving the Covenant on Mount Sinai. Do you see why this is exciting? Romans 7:6 puts it this way, “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” We, as Christians, are given God’s law inside of us, written on our hearts when the gift of the Holy Spirit came. Our faith is no longer about trying to be good enough to earn our way to Him. The Law could never do that. 

Let me try to explain it this way, Jesus came to give us life, and to have it in abundance (John 10:10). The gift of the Holy Spirit therefore, doesn’t enslave us to the law, but it instructs us to live the law with more conviction because it is what is better for us. The 10 Commandments and the Levitical Law still stand (Matthew 5:17), but for all who believe Jesus Christ is God and claim fielty to Him, are absolved from the condemnation of the law. God chose Pentecost to give the disciples the Holy Spirit because it’s a special day to celebrate the giving of the Law. God gave the Law to His people again but in a new way. 

God timed these events according to His will. During this Easter season, and after-Easter season, it is important for us to remember the value of waiting on God’s timing. Don’t rush into ministries, friendships, or commitments. But don’t fear starting them either. Take time, perhaps ten days as a model to fast and pray, to quiet your soul. Then we can hear the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts and respond accordingly. Then go. God has a mission for each and every one of us. He chose us to be instruments in His unfolding plan. 

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