Easter is a time of contemplation and celebration for Christians. In some denominations, Easter celebrations evoke more fanfare than Christmas festivities do, and perhaps for good reason. While pastel decor, egg hunts and chocolate bunnies are all delightful, we know that the reason for this season is Christ's triumph over death and sin at Calvary. Here's a look at some of the individual freeze-frames of the Easter story and what they mean for seniors.
Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him three times before the cock crows at dawn, but the brash and fiercely loyal disciple doesn't believe this. How could he, Peter, the first person to call Jesus by His rightful title, deny the teacher he loves so much?
Longtime believers may be able to connect with Peter in this moment, if not about a denial of Christ then about being incorrect in an action. It's easy to become assured of one's own belief and relationship in Jesus and forget that we still have many ways to fall or mess up because no one is perfect. Even when someone points out how we may not be engaging fully in a what-would-Jesus-do manner, we may think we know better.
In the end, Peter, out of understandable fear, does deny Jesus. And feels brokenhearted and guilty about it — which may be how Christians feel when they come to realize they've been acting in a wrong or unChristlike manner for some time.
But here's where the Easter story brings comfort: we get the knowledge of how it ends. Jesus returns, and although Peter is joyous about his risen Lord, surely he is also nervous about a coming rebuke. But it doesn't come. Instead, Jesus puts Peter in charge of starting His church on earth.
The lesson here is that we will probably mess up, but Jesus is always ready for us to realize that and to re-engage with Him and his work.
Mary Magdalene is a somewhat controversial figure and has been for centuries, with various cultures and denominations labeling her different things. Nevertheless, there's no denying she was present and somehow a part of the ministry performed by Jesus and His followers. She's mentioned more times in the Gospels than some of the original 12 disciples are!
And there's no doubt about her role in the Easter story. She comes to the tomb and finds it open and empty — the first to do so. She cries in front of the tomb, believing the body has been moved, and they won't be able to perform the required burial rights. Angels outside of the tomb tell her not to fear, and then, a man she at first thinks is a gardener speaks to her. It doesn't take Mary long to realize that this is actually Jesus and that He's risen and alive.
He gives her a message and she is the first one to proclaim to His followers the good news many sing throughout churches each Easter Sunday: "Jesus is alive."
The message for seniors from this snapshot of the story is that anyone — anyone — truly seeking Jesus will find Him. In addition, anyone with a heart for Christ and a willingness to serve can do so. That's true no matter where you live, your age or your physical capabilities. It's also true whether you're a controversial figure or someone who believes they've been forgotten; Jesus never forgets anyone.
Posted on Mon, April 22, 2019
by Shawn Deane