Easter isn’t the end of the story

by Terry Tatum, Discipleship Pastor, Lynn Haven Methodist Church
Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash

 For the last several years I have been on a very interesting spiritual journey. Just dealing with the everyday ups and downs of life have been a challenge to say the least. Some of the things that have happened have sincerely challenged my faith. I did not understand why our town was destroyed by a hurricane in 2018. I did not understand why the world was shut down by a virus no one had never heard of in 2020. There were times when I almost gave up but each year, around this time, I would be reminded of our risen Lord and the greatest event in human history that happened on a Sunday 2,000 years ago.

Each year during Holy Week I would fast, pray, and read the stories in the Bible to help me remember what Christ’s life was like and what his death on the cross meant for all of us. While going through those spiritual disciplines I developed a bad habit. Each year I would get to Friday of Holy Week, and I would be overwhelmed by what Christ did for us on the cross. I would cry at thought of how his body was beaten and marred until it was unrecognizable. I would wince when I would think about Jesus being almost dead then hung on a cross for several hours, doing everything in his power to stay alive before breathing his last breath. Simply put, my bad habit was stopping at the cross. I could never get passed the suffering and pain Christ endured for us.

 Then last year I had breakthrough and I realized that there was more to the story. I realized there is power in the resurrection. I was able to clearly understand and feel how Christ’s death on the cross saved us from our sins, but in his resurrection he defeated sin and death entirely. We were not just freed by what Christ did for us, we were forgiven. He died to make things right with God on our behalf. He rose from the dead to prove that we were delivered form the consequences of sin and death.

 This year God has been reminding me that there is more to the story than the cross and the tomb. Jesus rose form the grave and spent time with his disciples before he ascended into heaven. He sent his Holy Spirit to his disciples at Pentecost and from there twelve ordinary men went and changed the world. Had the disciples stopped at the cross or at the tomb, and not kept growing in their faith, most of us would have never heard the gospel.

 My challenge to you is to not have your Christian life defined by Jesus’ death on the cross, or by his resurrection. Instead, have your whole life changed by these events, changed to the point where going back to who you were is not an option. Do not stop at the cross, do not stop at the empty tomb, keep moving forward and live in the grace and peace that can only be found in Christ. Easter is. Is not the end of the story, it’s the beginning of a great ride.