Easter Sunday & Resurrection Week
Read Luke 24:1–8
Prepared by Charlie Shahnaian
The women in the tomb have come looking for Jesus, but He’s gone. He didn’t simply disappear without a trace, though. They’re reminded that He has already told them where He can be found: raised from the dead, among the living.
As I sat with this passage for a bit, I began to wonder, “How have I looked for Jesus among the dead? And how have I ignored His directives, telling me where He’ll be?”
I spent the first ten years of my Christian life as a single man with no children; this afforded me plenty of freedom in how I could spend time with Jesus. And during those years, I inadvertently created habits of how I would connect with Him: I sought Him during times of quiet and solitude, including long walks and hikes; I met Him alongside good friends in my Thursday night small group; and I was able to deepen my connection with Him through extra-Biblical edification, like podcast sermons, books, and the visiting of churches beyond Bel Air, for a little “extra Jesus.” The routine of my spiritual life became very comfortable.
But then my life changed in the most wonderful way: I married the love of my life and we had a daughter (and are expecting a son in the spring). Life became amazingly full. And with this fullness came the danger of life becoming spiritually empty – because the old ways of finding Jesus were gone. The quiet time I once had in abundance became very limited; the small group I met with disbanded; the time for podcasts and books and additional church visits evaporated. And to tell the truth, even when I was able to squeeze in my old ways of meeting Jesus, I found that the connection I’d previously felt was missing, or at best, weakened.
I had gone to the tomb of my past looking for Him, not remembering that He had promised me new life. Jesus is found among the living, not the dead – and He can meet me in my everyday life if I look for Him there.
I began to find Him during the nightly bottle feeding with my daughter, during the meals my wife and I prepared as part of a hospitality ministry, and at the new small group I joined (meeting at a more Dad-friendly time of Thursdays at 6am). It’s taken some adjustment, and even in these new ways of connecting with Jesus, the habitual comfort that I seek comes and goes. My daughter and I get into a rhythm that gives me time to pray, and then she changes her feeding routine. I find community in a new small group, and it moves locations and members leave town. The community meals that my wife and I enjoy preparing have to be put aside for a season as we get ready for baby #2.
But the lesson I hope to remember is that Jesus will continue to provide new ways for me to meet him. I can’t return to the ways of the past, but because He’s promised that He will never leave me or forsake me, I know that if I look for Him, He can be found in my life, no matter how it shifts and changes.
How have you looked for Jesus “among the dead”? Are there old ways of connecting with Jesus that are now gone from your life? Think about them, name them. What are the core elements of those ways of connecting that perhaps you can incorporate in a new way of connection?
In the tomb, the two mysterious men remind the women of what Jesus has told them about himself. What reminders do you need about Jesus? Who are the people in your life that can help you remember the promises Jesus has made?
Where is Jesus calling you to meet Him today? Are there changes in your life, or new areas that can be opened up to Him? (For example, do you have a new commute to work? Can this path open you up to new people or places to pray for?)
If Jesus is calling you out of the tomb and into life, who are the people with whom you feel His presence? Is it only possible to find Jesus with other believers, or can you seek Him with those who don’t know Him yet?
Is there a danger in holding onto the old ways of meeting Jesus? Is there danger in constantly seeking new ways to encounter Him? What does that balance look like for you?