It has been a few weeks since Easter, or as my tradition calls it, Resurrection Sunday. Many of you attended a church that Sunday and celebrated with large crowds, energizing worship, and a compelling message. Many made public professions of faith, while others were encouraged as they reflected on the death, burial, and resurrection. Now what? We sometimes don’t give much thought to what the first disciples of Jesus experienced in the days following the resurrection.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared multiple times to his disciples and others, proving that he had conquered death. He showed them his hands and feet, still bearing the marks of his crucifixion, and ate with them to demonstrate that he was not a ghost but a living being. These appearances brought great joy and hope to his followers, devastated by his death and persecution by the authorities.
During this time, Jesus also taught his disciples further, helping them to understand the prophecies and Scriptures that foretold his coming and purpose. He commissioned them to continue spreading the Good News of the Gospel to all nations, promising them the Holy Spirit to guide and empower them.
It would be 40 days between the resurrection and Jesus’ ascension. Then shortly after his ascension, we see the church’s birth on the day of Pentecost. This year Pentecost Sunday is celebrated on May 28th. Perhaps in these days leading up to that Sunday, we can do as the disciples did – learn and reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ coming and the mission he left for his followers – for us. Who knows, perhaps as we pray and worship together on Pentecost Sunday, we will be empowered by the Spirit and participate in a great awakening through the spreading of the message of Jesus for the salvation of people’s souls.