We’ve all seen weight loss commercials that show before and after pictures of people who used their product. There are many make over shows on television which show how people, rooms, front yards or even entire houses are transformed. Once again before and after pictures or video can often leave us amazed at what happened. The resurrection of Jesus is perhaps the best example in the Bible of what a difference a few days make.
Jesus was the person who gave meaning to the disciples’ lives. They had pledged their lives to Jesus. They put their dreams in Jesus. They pinned their hopes on Jesus. Then came Good Friday. Jesus was betrayed, arrested, put on trial, sentenced to death, and crucified with two criminals. Only a handful of Jesus’ followers were with him at the end. With one terrible thrust of a soldier’s spear all those pledges, all those dreams, and all those hopes died on the cross with Jesus.
But then something wonderful and unexpected happened. The gospels tell us that it apparently came as a surprise to Jesus’ followers. Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to his disciples. He was more real and fully alive than they had ever seen him before. And at that moment the power of Easter began to work in the hearts and lives of the disciples.
Suddenly they were transformed from a group of despairing people into daring missionaries. At the command of Jesus they set out to carry the good news of Easter throughout the world. And everywhere they preached the good news, the power of the Holy Spirit began to work in peoples’ lives. Beautiful things began to happen.
- Doubt began to give way to faith.
- Despair began to give way to hope.
- Darkness began to give way to light.
- Hatred began to give way to love.
- Turmoil began to give way to peace.
- Sorrow began to give way to joy.
The good news of Easter is that the same can happen for us. Easter invites people to open their hearts to the risen Lord and let him do for us what he did for the disciples on that first Easter. The good news of Easter is that Jesus is in our midst ready to work miracles in us, IFwe let him. The good news of Easter is that nothing can defeat us any more — not discourage-ment, not pain, not misfortune, not even death. The good news of Easter is that Jesus triumphed and so will we — IF we open our hearts to him.