NOW WHAT? (Part 1)


    A long weekend is something that we all enjoy, and this past one was no exception. Often, the reason for these days off gets lost in the activity of life. The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is something special to the Christian faith and does not necessarily require a holiday, but as the calendar states, this time of year we celebrate Easter. 


   The accuracy of the day is contested between the Catholic and the Orthodox faith. In Italy, this last weekend is when Easter took place, while if you went to the close by country of Greece, their dates to celebrate Easter can be different. This year and next they happen to coincide but in 2012 it will be April 15th and in 2013 it will be May 5th. My purpose is not to write the reasons why, but rather to articulate that Christ's sacrifice for our sins and His resurrection can be something to be remembered daily as well as celebrated weekly in many churches during the communion service. 


   In Luke chapters 23 and 24 we can read the account of the crucifixion as well as the resurrection. I often put myself into the mind frame of the disciples, not only the twelve closest to Him, but also those Christ followers that could not be with Him all the time. I am reminded of the two that traveled dejectedly on the road to Emmaus, and I am sure their sentiments were duplicated by each one that had known the Lord. For us, as we read, we know the end of the story and by faith we believe He is alive. But for them it was a time of uncertainty. When we are faced with new situations and changing times we often ask the question; NOW WHAT? Believers during those dark days had fears as they hid away from the authorities for fear of their own death and arrest. Their uncertainty was challenged by reports from the women that were attending to the Lord Jesus and were wanting to show their devotion by putting spices on his dead body. We discover in the first few verses of Luke 24 that they are met by angels who confront them with this question stated in verse 5: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He has risen."  In the verses that follow, it seems as if their understanding of His words take on new meaning and His rising from the dead was a reality. As they hurry back and inform the others, we read of the account not only in Luke but also in the gospel of John how Peter and John both go to see for themselves. Even with this incredible event, I am sure they were all asking themselves, "NOW WHAT?" 


   In John chapter 14:16 the Lord Jesus begins to tell the disciples that He will not leave them as orphans and informs them that the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) will come once Christ is gone. The unfolding of what their life would be without the Lord's physical presence was most likely daunting, but they obeyed and remembered His words. Christ's message of hope and redemption became theirs to communicate through the training they had received in the three years of accompanying Him in His earthly ministry. In John chapter 21, the Lord appears to the disciples in the early morning. Peter and the disciples had toiled without results and as they neared the shore, the Lord told them to cast their nets to the other side of the boat. The results were outstanding! As they pulled the fish out of the water and onto the boat then settled in to eat breakfast, the Lord begins to ask Peter some questions. His question is do you love me more then these? As we understand the context, He was seeing where Peter's priorities were. A deeper meaning is behind all this because Peter, as the others, were wondering NOW WHAT? What do we do with our lives? Do we return to our professions? There was incredible success, and the Lord had given it to him with a monumental catch. The Lord answers what is deep in their hearts as He asks this question; Do you love me more than the fish and the livelihood it would bring? His instructions are clear and three times He instructs Peter in different ways. He says in John 21:15-17; "Simon do you love me?" Firstly he says "Feed my lambs" followed by "Take care of my sheep" and then "Feed my sheep". His responsibility was no longer to continue life as a fisherman but rather as a communicator of Christ's message and an encourager to those who believed. Next week we will see the question in the context of our lives. What is the NOW WHAT? for you and me.


By: David Jones