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What change did Easter bring?

Friday 22 April 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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What change did Easter bring?
Resurrected Jesus appears to His disciples. SUPPLIED/22042109

Given that we are seven days after the celebrations of Passover, and five days after Jesus resurrection, I was pondering the immediate aftermath of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, writes Pastor Paul Kauri of the ArePua Church.

The Guilty

I thought about the disciples and their abandonment of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, because of the fear that came from either the Roman soldiers or the religious leaders. I thought about Peter, who so courageously said he would die for Jesus, only to betray him a few hours later, and the bitterness of his weeping after the rooster crowed for the third time, and that look from Jesus which pierced his soul, not because of the compassion flowing from Jesus eyes, but because of his betrayal toward the One, he loved. I pondered his rush of emotions, upon hearing news from the ladies that Jesus was alive! Astonishment yet unbelief, joy yet shame, stunned yet guilt, hopeful yet confused. Selah.

The Grieving

I thought about Mary Magdalene. This woman whom the religious leaders were ready to kill, as she was caught in the act of adultery (I also wondered where the guy was in this act? Last time I checked, it takes two to adultery! … anyway … back to my pondering) I imagined the way Jesus bent down low before them, only to rise and set her free from her accusers, lifting off the shame and eventually restoring her dignity. I pondered the anguish in her heart as she wept at the empty tomb, longing to see the dead body of the One who had restored her broken and abused soul. Then this Unspeakable Joy which flooded her heart, while she sobbed talking to the “gardener” when He, The One, interrupted her question by speaking her name, “Mary.

The Question

I pondered the two disciples who were walking to the village of Emmaus, discussing all that had happened, and now most recently the women and their claims that they saw Jesus alive! I wondered if they rationaled these claims as merely the result of emotional stress from recent events and that the lack of sleep + emotional stress = seeing things.

I pondered that moment when Jesus entered their conversation with a simple question, then explaining to them from Moses and the prophets why all these events had to take place to fulfil scripture. I also wondered why they could not recognise Jesus? It was an 11k walk and talk, he even stayed with them for dinner, and not until he broke the bread did they realise it was Jesus! In fact, why couldn’t Mary recognise Jesus at the tomb, until he mentioned her name?

The Fear

I pondered when the disciples met together in the aftermath, with doors locked out of fear of the pharisees, I wondered how they were processing all that had just happened around the empty tomb? I wondered what questions they were asking each other and how those questions shaped their conversations until … Jesus appeared in the room. I can’t help but think, that at that moment, their questions no longer mattered.

I pondered all these incidences and individuals, and the fear that gripped them in the height of that moment when Jesus was crucified and the city was going crazy.

I pondered the conversation that the two disciples engaged in, trying to process these events, so consumed in their disbelief they couldn’t recognise him as he walked with them.

I pondered the grief of Mary longing for the one who restored, not only her dignity, but also her identity as a woman. And I pondered the guilt-ridden Peter, whom Jesus restored by undoing his three denials with the same question asked three times.

I pondered what changes Jesus death and resurrection bought:

- Replacing Peter’s guilt, with His Acceptance

- Exchanging Mary’s mourning with His Joy

- Bringing Clarity to the two disciples through His Word

- and Dispelling the Disciples Fear with Faith.

And in all four of these, one common denominator clearly stands out, that those who believed in Him, experienced His Presence.

When I considered our beautiful nation, and the grief that families have had to process during their time of loss; or the fear that has gripped some of our people, which not only causes irrational thinking, but reveals the fear controlling our lives. When I consider people who are riddled with guilt for past actions they cannot change, or the difficulty of making good choices when issues are confusing, let alone hard, let me share with you the one common denominator in our four examples above, that is, Jesus was present in all situations.

Over the years I have read many stories of the Presence of God, in people’s lives during their most testing times. And in my 35 years of walking in Christ, I have come to know this to be true; as He walked with those to whom He revealed Himself, the days after His resurrection, so too He continues to walk and reveal Himself to those who would choose Him today.

And what I’ve also come to learn and rest in is that when God is present, what we thought mattered is not as important or as big as we assumed, for He changes everything.

I pray, that you would encounter Him and allow Him to change how you handle the world around you, today.

Blessings, from Tania and I.