Before the resurrection, the disciples' imagined future screeched to an abrupt stop. Jesus lay dead in a grave. Their picture of the future was deconstructed. Then came Sunday. Everything changed.
Death had been defeated. Jesus was alive, but a transition was in place. Jesus would ascend into heaven. He would no longer be physically present with his followers. The long walks, the meals together, his penetrating face-to-face questions, the times when he took them apart to spend time with them and teach them, all of that would be no more. Their physical companion was leaving.
Transitions lead to the question of what’s next. We read in Acts 1:3 (NIV):
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God. Over a period of forty days, Jesus prepared the disciples for the coming transition.
Over the next several weeks, we will look at the question of what was next for the disciples and Jesus' followers. The church's existence today indicates that Jesus prepared his followers well for the transition. They discovered ministry without a physically present Jesus.
As to how well the transition took place, Mark Batterson on Twitter writes:
2000 years ago, Rome was the most powerful empire on earth. Jesus had 12 disciples and 120 followers. 2000 years later, CAESAR IS A SALAD while 2,000,000,000 people claim to follow Christ. How does that happen? an EMPTY TOMB. #ChristIsRisen #Easter2023 #JesusIsLord
In exploring "what is next," we will also look at what is next for each of us. This week’s passage of scripture is Luke 24:13–35, known as the Emmaus Road. You will notice Jesus does a lot of reminding by reiterating what he has already taught. What are some areas in our lives where we need reminders to get us back on track or keep us on track?