Did Easter come and go too quickly for you? Even though I practice Lent (period of special meditation on the Passion of Christ for the 40 days before Easter) I wasn’t ready for it to end. I decided to focus on the Great Fifty Days also called Eastertide on the church calendar this year.
It has been an exciting journey. I made this decision after finding a littlebook called The Stations of Resurrection, written by someone who, likeme, wasn’t ready to stop at Easter. It focuses on the twelve Resurrectionappearances that Jesus made to His followers. It causes me to wonder at the waysGod grows our faith.
During the days between Jesus’ Resurrection and His Ascension, there areso few recorded appearances by Jesus. Each time Jesus appeared and interactedwith His followers, He had a specific lesson to teach. Specifically we know of12 appearances or conspicuous absenses:
- The empty Tomb—no one witnessed the actual resurrection except God and Angels (John 20:1-10)
- Guards see the stone rolled away (Matthew 28:11-15)
- Angels appear to the women (Luke 24:4-8)
- Entering tomb by Peter and John (Luke 24:1)
- Jesus appears to Mary (Mark 16:9; John 20:10-18)
- On the road to Emmaus—Midday (Luke 24:13-35)
- To His disciples—evening (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-21)
- To His disciples and Thomas, one week later (John 20:24-20)
- The miraculous catch of fish, and the reinstatement of Peter (John 21:1-25)
- The Ascension (Luke 24:50-52; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:6-11)
- Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:3-9)
- James, His half brother (1 Corinthians 15:7)
I find comfort in recognizing that personal appearances of Jesus on our spiritual journey are relatively rare, even for the apostles. God seems to grow our faith by showing up on occasion and never announced. Most of those fifty days the disciples and followers were waiting and trusting the mystery of God just like us. They were told to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon them at the Ascension, and that’s exactly what they did. There were 120 of them who were waiting and praying in the Upper Room when the world was turned upside down by the presence of the Holy Spirit now indwelling believers (Acts 2).
Eastertide teaches us that our responsibility as followers of Jesus is the same as those to whom He appeared. We are to wait and pray and follow where the Holy Spirit leads us to witness. We will each have special spiritual experiences when our understanding of Jesus is heightened. But most of the time we are just living our normal everyday lives in faith and obedience to the Word He has given us.