1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 – Easter Is More Than a Day

All Creation Sings His Praise by Jen Norton

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (New English Translation)

Easter is more than one day. It’s as if a massive spiritual 10.0 earthquake occurred on that day with a great tsunami of life powerfully overwhelming all of history.

Today begins the Christian season of Eastertide. It is a time of realizing we are without yeast, that is, without any old unhealthy ingredients which may work through the whole batch of dough. We are to live into the new reality given to us by means of Christ’s resurrection from death.

Eastertide spans the next fifty days until the Day of Pentecost. That’s a hefty seven weeks of bringing the new life we enjoy to the forefront. Eastertide’s intentional focus is to acknowledge and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, exulting in our own new life in him.

Now, you might say to yourself, “Why do we need to have some liturgical season about Christ’s resurrection? Shouldn’t we be living like we recognize this every day?” Yes, of course we should. 

Yet, consider this: If we only sing songs of resurrection on Easter Sunday and only occasionally think of Christ’s resurrection outside of Easter Sunday, then perhaps, its sage to bring a highlighted focus to the resurrection in a special season. 

Just as it is necessary to take more than one vacation day in the year for renewal, so it is essential to observe more than one day to enjoy Easter. If nothing else, Eastertide gives believers an opportunity to let Christ’s resurrection percolate in our hearts so that we experience new life, as people who exhibit an alive-spirit. And, God knows, we could use much more of that in our congregations and our world!

If eternal life and being fully alive are needed for us, then it only makes sense that we take advantage of what Eastertide has to offer: A deliberate look at Christ’s resurrection, exploring its implications and impact for us. 

Simply assuming we all know about resurrection simply will not do, any more than my wife assuming I love her without looking her straight in the eye and telling her so. 

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). Being people of sincerity and truth comes with a purposeful eye on a new resurrected life. Without an Eastertide, there’s a sin-as-usual kind of approach to life with a shoulder shrug that says, “Meh, what’s a guy to do?” 

Methinks that unhelpful boasting and sinful pride are directly related to moving on from Easter Sunday and backsliding to the old life. Like a dog returning to its vomit, so is a church who puts away sin on a Sunday, then goes back to pre-resurrection living – which is no life, at all.

Instead, with Eastertide’s full focus, we have the hope of life everlasting because Christ has risen from death.  We have the hope of individual renewal, corporate revitalization, and worldwide revival because there is a risen Savior.

Therefore, this is the perfect time of year to engage in some renewal practices, or even make a few simple changes that show signs of life. Here are just a few ideas for lifting Christ’s resurrection into the next few months:

Pray for a revival of spirituality. Christ brings life, so praying to God for revival is a deliberate way of connecting with God.

Squarely address the leaven of harmful and unhelpful bread. Gossip, back-biting, slander, injustice, oppression, gaslighting, and hate are all poisonous yeast that kills those who are hungry. Casually sluffing-off someone’s acerbic speech and actions as “That’s just the way they are,” will not do, unless you want to exist in a pro-death culture.

Serve unleavened bread. Promote healthy practices of living. If guilty acts and shameful actions bring death, using our words and deeds for encouragement, love, mercy, forgiveness, and building up one another promotes growth, health, and life.

Proclaim resurrection.  I believe the church is meant to be the hope of the world because Christ is the risen Lord. Graciously proclaim the resurrected Christ and how the spiritual life makes a difference in daily existence.

Start a new ministry you always believed would make a difference. It is the appropriate season to take a risk. After all, if you have eternal life, can you really fail? Host a new in-person or virtual small group. Take initiative to up your knowledge of technology. Read some significant books and start a book club. I’m willing to bet you have some idea(s) rolling around inside you about blessing the world. Now, during Eastertide, is the time to turn that idea into reality.

Eat spiritually nutritious bread. If you would not think of skipping meals for days at a time, then consider the erosion to your soul and your church which can occur when folks don’t read their Bibles on a regular basis or pray with any kind of consistency. Stick to a plan. It will not only bring growth to your own life but will impact those around you.

Just keeping the word “Eastertide” in front of you for the next few months can be a simple yet powerful way of reminding us that God has called us to new life. Let the reality of Christ’s resurrection strengthen your heart so that new life informs all your thinking, speaking, feeling, and acting.

Holy and righteous God, you raised Christ from the dead and glorified him at your right hand. Let the words of Scripture, fulfilled in Jesus your Son, burn within our hearts and open our minds to recognize him in the breaking of bread. Amen.

The Wonder of Christ’s Resurrection

Welcome, friends! In the New Testament Gospel of Luke 24:1-12, we find an account of women approaching the grave of Jesus, only to find an empty tomb. Today, people search for reality in all kinds of empty places. There is, however, hope, because Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Click the videos below and let us enjoy and be in awe that Jesus is alive!

Pastor Tim Ehrhardt, Luke 24:1-12

May the glory and the promise of this joyous time of year bring peace and happiness to you and those you hold most dear.

And may Christ, Our Risen Savior, always be there by your side to bless you most abundantly and be your loving guide. Amen.

Luke 24:1-12 – The Wonder of Christ’s Resurrection

Women at the empty tomb of Jesus encountering an angel

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. (New International Version)

“The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and you’re now invited to belong to it.”

N.T. Wright

The disciples were stuck in the yesterday of Holy Saturday and the grief of Good Friday. Christ’s death was nothing but bad news, leaving them with an awful wondering about what could have been.

And now, an empty tomb. What does it mean? The disciples did not yet discern the reality and impact of what had happened. Their perplexity and curiosity eventually turned to a different kind of wondering: The amazement that Christ is alive! That Jesus has taken care of the sin issue once for all. That a new order is now in force that forever changes everything!

We, too, have the chance to be amazed and in wondrous awe over the resurrection of Jesus. Because the resurrection of Jesus is not just a doctrine to be believed; it is a powerful reality to be lived, and a source of eternal wonder and praise.

Women Arriving at the Tomb by He Qi

The Wonder of the Female Disciples

Do you wonder why women were the first disciples to encounter the empty tomb and the risen Lord?

Women are central to Luke’s resurrection account because women are central to the gospel. They play a significant role, along with men, in the ministry of the good news of Jesus. Within an ancient culture, and religious milieu, in which men were prominent and women were not regarded as reliable witnesses to anything, God used the female disciples as the very first witnesses of the empty tomb. 

Women now play an important part alongside men in ministry. 

This fact was not lost on the early church, who commissioned both men and women as apostles, serving in the highest ranks of the ministry. For example, Junia was a female apostle – an eyewitness of Christ’s life, ministry, and death, as well as a leader who helped build the Church. (Romans 16:7) 

If you ever “wonder” what role women ought to play in the church, the answer is: They ought to serve in the highest offices of leadership because the female disciples were prominent witnesses to the resurrection, on purpose.

The female disciples were curious about the empty tomb. While they were wondering about it, a couple of angels show up and ask them a question designed to lead them to a proper interpretation of Christ’s missing body:

“Why do look for the living among the dead?”

He Is Risen by He Qi

Many people today seek Jesus among the dead. They look for him in empty places.

Some look for Jesus in good ideas, as if knowledge or education save us. We may reason: If we have all the right information, express right belief, and sign-off on right doctrine, then we are okay. However, we are not saved by thoughts, even understanding, as if our brains are what deliver us from sin, death, and evil. We are saved by the person and work of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-23).

Many look for Jesus through their efforts, as if I can work my way into the good graces of God. We believe that action is the key. So, whenever we mess up, we seek penance by beating ourselves up, in some way, to somehow atone for the mistakes. However, Jesus finished the work! We participate with Christ in his death and resurrection through faith, not by works. We cannot do for ourselves what Christ has already done for us. Our “work” is to believe, and to be in wonder. (John 6:28-29)

Folks might search for Jesus in the heart – feeling that if our belief is sincere, if I’m basically a good person, if my heart is in the right place, that’s what matters. Yet, we are not saved through sincerity, or by warm-fuzzy feelings about God, as if our hearts save us.

Our hearts can be desperately wicked and are in need of redemption. Through repentance and faith, people find Jesus. Since Jesus is in the heart transplant business, you will find him wherever there are people with critically low heart function.

To find Jesus, in the ancient world, one needed to find the tax collectors, the lepers, the blind, the poor, or even a Roman Centurion. Today, if you want to find Jesus, he will still be found among the poor, the diseased, the refugee, the immigrant, the prisoner, and those who are despised by others.

The last place you would look, in Christ’s day, is with the religious leaders. And today, whenever we look for God to show up with all the answers and all the heart transformation in church, we then wonder why we cannot see Jesus. That’s because Jesus is not in the grave but, as the risen Christ, is out bestowing new life to the people with sick and hard hearts.

Why do you look for Jesus in church? Rather than asking Jesus to come to us, let’s go to where he is.

Since Christ is alive, we are alive.

We need not be perplexed about the empty tomb because Jesus is alive!  He is risen!  This reality is to impact our lives forever:

Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4, NIV)

This is the gospel, the good news of Christ. It’s no secret. Jesus made this plainly known. The gospel is not insider news. It’s freely available to everyone. Early in his ministry Jesus said to his disciples:

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22, NIV)

A few years later, before heading for Jerusalem, Jesus laid it out again for them:

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33, NIV)

The Wonder of Peter

The women hurried to tell the disciples. But the men were clueless; they didn’t believe the women. Peter, always the impetuous one, hurried to see the tomb for himself. He left wondering (thinking hard about) what all this empty tomb stuff means.

So, why (since the disciples were told what was going to happen) were they left wondering what in the world the empty tomb was all about? 

Its meaning was hidden from them. They did not know what Jesus was really talking about. But this would all change. After appearing to them…

Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:45-49, NIV)


Present-day Christians know of Christ’s redemptive events of cross, resurrection, ascension, and the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost. We do not need to wonder (be perplexed). We are clothed with power from on high to accomplish the mission of Christ on this earth.

We can now revel and rejoice in wonder and awe over the person and work of Jesus.  We possess forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, and one another because of Christ’s mighty resurrection from death. 

Perhaps we need a newfound sense of wonder (awe) about Christ and his rising from death so that the resurrection of Jesus is not only a doctrine to believe, but a source of joy and wonder that impacts our daily lives.

Here are some ways we might cultivate a sense of wonder that will help us better connect with the risen Christ:

  • Watch kids play, learn, or do anything. Kids approach life with a sense of wonder. Everything is new, bright, and exciting – from being excited with a new toy to smiling at the simplest things – and even responding to Holy Scripture.
  • Read Scripture as if it were your first time. A great way to do this is to get together with someone or a group of people who aren’t familiar with the Bible. Spend some regular time reading through a book of God’s Word together, observing the wonder of the biblical characters.
  • Pay attention to God’s creation. All that we see is a window to the unseen. Whether taking a walk in nature, or traveling to other places, observe the changes of seasons and geography that elicits awe, reminding us of Christ’s resurrection.
  • Learn something new. Learn or rediscover a musical instrument. Research a topic you have always wanted to know something about. Take up a new hobby. Learn a new language. Doing anything new helps us to know new life in Christ better.

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

Martin Luther

All new life is wondrous and points to Easter, Resurrection Day. Whenever we lose our awe, we get stuck. Then, it’s hard to be excited about unseen spiritual realities. So, let us work at cultivating a sense of wonder so that the resurrection of Christ remains existentially fresh and alive.

Christ is risen!  Christ is risen, indeed!

Mark 16:1-8 – On Big Rocks and Even Bigger Questions

Deposition, Burial and Resurrection of Christ by Guy Roddon (1919-2006)

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomband they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was exceptionally large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. (NIV)

“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” So asked the three women on Resurrection Sunday when they came to anoint the dead body of Jesus. Turns out they didn’t need to find the security officers, so to speak, to come and unlock the door. The tomb was already open. What is more, lo and behold, the women did not find a dead body. Jesus was not there – he is risen!

I sometimes find myself asking the same kind of question the women were asking each other: 

Who will move this huge object (or objection!) to what I want to do? 

How can I get to Jesus so that I can do something for him? 

Who will take care of the immovable obstacles that stand in my way? 

I must admit, these are questions born more of a small faith and a limited understanding than of knowing the power of God.

It also turns out the plan the women had for taking care of Christ’s lifeless body was completely irrelevant. Which causes me to ask even more questions of myself:

Are my questions completely off the mark?

Do I have my ladder up against the wrong wall?

Is my plan of caring for Jesus an adventure in missing the point?

Is it Jesus who plans on showing up and caring for me?

Perhaps it all comes down to our expectations. The women were most certainly not expecting a risen Lord! They had absolutely zero expectation of encountering an angel who would tell them Jesus is alive. They did not anticipate their question would end up being completely unnecessary. 

Maybe believers and lovers of Jesus are asking a set of misguided questions based in our puny creature perspective on life, church, and world. Perhaps we are not grasping what God’s power has already accomplished and/or what God already has up his sleeve. 

It could be that all we really need to realize is that God has gone before us, clearing all impediments so that people can see and experience the risen Christ. Methinks our expectations are far too low for a God who has the power and will to raise people from death…. 

Because the way has been opened to a new and vital relationship with the Lord Christ. That massive immovable boulder has already been moved. Whereas we thought it was some big issue to deal with, just by showing up at the tomb we clearly see that isn’t the issue, at all.

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

So, here I go again with another set of questions:

How many times have we gotten things all discombobulated in our heads and misinterpreted what’s going on just because we didn’t show up and find Jesus is not dead but alive?

When have we severely underestimated the power of God by believing we must operate in our own power and do things for God because Christ is as good as dead to us?

Are we still expecting Jesus to care about buildings, budgets, and butts in the pew because those things (we think) are within our power and control?

Do we even bother to ask Jesus what he cares about, or do we simply superimpose our wishes upon him as if they are his?

Are you yet sick and tired of me asking questions and offering no answers?

That’s because the answer is already there. Jesus is not where you are expecting him. There is power at work for which you are unaware.

The truth is that we can now encounter and explore a fresh reality with Jesus as the Author and Pioneer of our faith. We need only listen, follow, and leave the moving of big rocks to God.

When our faith stands at the grave, grieving for a stone that’s rolled away, forgive us, Lord. When our faith is short of understanding though the truth is there to see, forgive us, Lord. When our faith, beset by doubt, sees no further than an empty tomb today, forgive us, Lord. Bring to our minds the cry of Mary, “I have seen the Lord!” and grant us faith to believe! Amen.