The week after Easter, most of us go back to school, back to work, back to the normal ebb and flow of spring in central NY- yard clean up, preparing vegetable gardens, finally washing those windows you can’t reach in the winter. We enjoyed the holiday, maybe even experienced a renewed sense of the victory Jesus provided for us on the cross, but the week after isn’t usually full of life-changing drama.
Not so for the little band of followers left to try to make sense of everything they’d witnessed during Jesus’ last week on earth with them. The days following the Resurrection were anything but routine for them- they were confused, scattered, without a leader or a purpose that they could discern, and questioning everything they had come to believe.
But even in the midst of that chaos and uncertainty, Jesus was there for the people He loved.
Mary Magdelene went to the tomb to do the only things she knew to show her respect and love, and her grief was compounded to think the grave had been robbed- and Jesus met her right there in the garden, in her place of sorrow, and gave her words of comfort and assurance. (John 20:14-18)
The disciples hid in a locked room, fearful for their lives and filled with confusion over everything that had happened and Jesus met them right there in that room, giving them renewed joy and peace. (Luke 24:36-43)
Thomas was honest about his doubt in the reality of the resurrection- and Jesus met him right at the point of his doubt, and patiently confirmed the truth of His presence and triumph over death, as well as giving him tangible evidence of the depth of His love for Thomas and all who believed. (John 20:27-28)
Cleopas and his friend were walking and talking and trying to puzzle through the events of the previous week and Jesus literally walked and talked along with them for a distance, providing answers, companionship, and comfort. (Luke 24:13-35)
And to the disciples who had given up and gone back to their previous lives as fishermen because they couldn’t comprehend that what they had witnessed was anything but a complete failure of their faith, Jesus appeared and met their practical, physical needs as well as their spiritual questions, as He had done so many times in His ministry before His death. (John 21:4-13)
And finally, when those first followers were ready to face a new reality and a new future, He came to them a final time and gave them not only His instructions but the promise that He was making sure they wouldn’t be alone in this new challenge. (Acts 1:4-9)
In every instance, Jesus came to them, even before they could begin to imagine or expect His continued presence in their lives. And in every instance, He not only met them where they were but left them with gifts of renewed hope, comfort, faith, provision, purpose, and courage.
Jesus still wants to meet us where we are, assure us of His presence, and pour new gifts into us. He longs to be there for us. All we have to do is make room for Him and believe.
“Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’
28 ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed.
29 Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.’ ” (John 20:26-29)
This blog entry was adapted from a Saturday morning prayer service. You can join us at Lakes every Saturday at 9 am for a short word from Scripture and a time of private prayer.
If you have questions about making Jesus’ presence real in your life, please contact us via phone, email, or on our Facebook page. We’d love to talk to you!