I wonder how hard it was for people to follow the resurrected Jesus when he was walking amongst them? In many ways this seems like a silly question because you or I may say, “if the resurrected Jesus was standing in front of me I would do anything he says.” How could one refute seeing Jesus die on the cross one day and then walking around a few days later? How could you find it difficult to do anything he asked having witnessed such an event?
I’m a big fan of gimmicks, or at least I used to be. I remember when I was a kid and something would come in the mail advertising a free trip, or seeing products at the home show that could cook a ten course dinner in 5 minutes with only 2 minutes of prep work and thinking “Mom and Dad we need to have this!” I remember getting excited and energized by the opportunity to have so much for so little and wondering why everyone doesn’t have this or that product. However as I got older and had opportunity to buy these things for myself, I quickly began to see that although these products offered much, there nearly always a catch. For the free trip you had to be inundated with advertising for the timeshare, and for the cooking products…well they just didn’t work as advertised. These products offered much for “10 easy low payments,” or “the cost of a coffee a day,” but once I began to see what was being sold, I realized that although the cost seemed low, it was still too much for something that didn’t actually make a difference in my life. Jesus’ sales pitch however, was different.
When he walked the earth, Jesus’ message was “lose your life for my sake and you will find it,” “give up everything and come follow me,” “eat my flesh and blood.” None of these phrases is easy to follow, all of them costs us much and that is why I wonder if those who saw the resurrected Lord may have still rejected his message - it was going to cost them something they did not want to let go of. Their current beliefs (whether Jew or Gentile), their current way of life, their relationships, and so much more would all be redefined if they chose to follow Christ. They would begin to see the world (the homeless, the widow, the orphan, even God himself) with a new set of eyes that they just could not comprehend. No longer could they rely on the law and rabbinical interpretation to dictate what was right or wrong, or what could or couldn’t be done on a particular day; they would have to trust the Spirit to guide them. They would have to surrender their own will for the will of Christ.
It seems the only way for us to follow Jesus, is simply that, to follow. To die to our own way of thinking and to begin to think like Christ - to allow the Spirit of God access to our hearts and minds, that we might begin to see with resurrected eyes. To die to oneself is an act of faith, for only God can bring the dead back to life, but the more I follow Jesus, the more I am convinced this is the only path worth travelling. This Easter, allow your desires to die and allow the love of God to fill you anew; that you would have eyes to see and ears to hear what God wants you to see and hear today.