Pastor’s Corner – Then What Happened?
In a recent interview for our Children and Family Ministries positions, the candidate gave an answer that truly surprised me. We asked an obvious question. “Tell us about a time where your faith became important to you.” She shared about how she grew up in the church, went through Sunday school and confirmation but it wasn’t until High school that she got the answer to one of her most personal questions. “What happened after Jesus was raised from the dead?”
In all her years of Christian education/formation there had been a tremendous amount of energy placed on Jesus’ living, dying and rising again. This isn’t a bad thing. After all, if the story did end there it would still be the greatest event in the history of the world. Jesus’ death and resurrection would be the pinnacle of the human race and the hope for all the world.
The issue for this candidate is an issue of faith that many people have with Christianity today, the question is “Now what?!?” It is Great News that Jesus saved us from our sins. It is amazing news that we have eternity secured because of Him. It is indescribable news that our guilt, shame and doubt have no authority in this world. But, then what happens? What does all this information mean for my life?
The Biblical account of what happened after Jesus rose from the dead is a tremendous journey through the many responses. Some believed immediately, some doubted, some were afraid, some rejoiced, some were killed, many were transformed by the life and witness of those who believed.
Too many times we discredit ourselves, or worse let others discredit us. A journey through the New Testament records of Jesus life and the many responses to His resurrection should give us encouragement. It doesn’t matter the background, sex, role, age or nationality of the individuals all of them responded in unique ways. As we read the biblical account, we can see similarities in ourselves and in the people and family we encounter every day.
This weekend we remember and celebrate the Ascension of Jesus Christ. He did not die after Easter but up into heaven with a resurrected, living body. The response of the witnesses and those who heard is an inspiration for us, even today. Jesus prays for you and me, prays for those who hear the Good News though our lives and sends the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us.
“So, what Happens Next?” The amazing thing about the story of Jesus Christ is that it still isn’t over. Even to this day the work, life and ministry of Jesus is living and active in our lives and through our lives. The “Holy Christian Church” is the body of Christ at work in the world. He is present, now, in us and through us. And this will never end.
So, what is next? In many ways it is up to you, allowing God to work through you. In other ways, God is doing His work whether you realize it or not. One thing is for certain, God promises to be with always to the very end of the age and even then, He promises to take us to be with Himself, forever. So, let’s take a moment to celebrate and rejoice. Let’s find a moment of peace and hope in the chaos. After all the amazing work and ministry of Jesus has only begun even if the hardest part is already finished.
“(Jesus said) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will tell people about me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria. And you will even tell other people about me from one end of the earth to the other.” Acts 1:8
Pastor Erik Gauss
Scripture Readings for Sunday, May 14, 2023
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Luke 24:36-49