Life AFTER the Resurrection
We are now in the post Easter season. The planning, events, worship experiences of Lent and Easter 2016 are behind us. So the real question is, “What happens AFTER Easter and does it make any difference?” For a background you can read a post-resurrection story in the Gospel of John chapter 21.
Jesus appears to the forlorn Disciples beside the Sea of Galilee after they have been fishing all night but they do not actually know that it is Jesus. Jesus greets them with a question, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then they recognized that it was Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus actually is a precursor to our own resurrection. Our lives take on a new perspective when it dawns on us what actually happened. Other people and our profession are changed. Every person who Jesus engages AFTER his resurrection is changed in a powerful and transforming way. From the first responder, Mary Magdalene, to Saul of Tarsus, each came to embrace a new existence. The resurrection changes everything. Let’s examine what happens.
- Our daily tasks are different. Fishing was the vocation of many of the Jesus crew. But when Jesus re-appears in their lives after coming back from the dead it was all-different. We do our jobs differently. We see our co-workers in a new way. We even see fishing in a new way! See others through resurrection eyes. Every person matters. Every individual has potential. The future of evil and persons who have been under the spell of evil is forever changed. Look through resurrection lens.
- Failures are Jesus opportunities. The friends of Jesus had fished all night and caught nothing. We all know the feeling of working without results. This does not mean because Jesus is alive all our catches will be big. It does not mean all our sales will be winners. It does not mean we will never suffer again. But it does mean that casting, and selling, and suffering are never fruitless. Even when we fail we win. All things work together for good when God is in it. Even suffering has redemptive value. We cast our nets with new vigor and purpose. We do out jobs with a different attitude. Cast again, Jesus said. Do what you always did with a faith that says let God decide what happens! Same job-different results. For those early Christ followers it was a miraculous catch. It’s like Jesus spoke to the fish and said, “Fish...get in the net!” That can happen. But it is also true that Jesus speaks to the fishermen and says, “Do what you do with faith!”
- True success is defined by obedience. Whatever you do, do it the way God tells you. Follow the words he has already spoken. Let the words of Jesus live in you, motivate you, and challenge you to a new way of life. Obedience is the Christian way. The surest proof of a Christian is not miracles but obedience! We can only find God’s satisfying abundance if we listen and obey! The hard working fishermen dragged their net to shore with 153 fish.
- There are perpetual appearances of Jesus. He keeps showing up. Jesus will show up at the times and places he chooses. He still does that. Just look for him. Even in challenging circumstances. Jesus shows up in hospitals, in court, in conflict, and in overwhelming times. He just shows up! Sometimes he walks on water but this time he just showed up standing on the beach. Jesus is unpredictable. Just when you think you have him figured out he will surprise you. Resurrection always surprises.
- The resurrected Jesus is often not recognized. Mary thought he was the gardener; the disciples couldn’t see who he was. But then our eyes are opened. When the disciples had breakfast with Jesus on the beach they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. This was the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead. Every appearance is different. Get ready.
- The resurrection of Jesus gives our lives a new mission. When you have seen him come back from the dead how can we be the same? Every one of the first disciples claimed a new life direction. He will continue to show himself in this world and those appearances are not all in church. He is alive in the world!