Monday, April 6, 2015

It Was THE Manic Monday...

Yesterday I was joking on Twitter about what the disciples were doing on the afternoon of the resurrection. I suggested they probably had to attend a committee meeting; a friend countered with the hilarious yet poignant reminder that they would have needed to elect a new treasurer to replace Judas. That started me thinking about what that afternoon- and the day that followed- were like for the remaining 11 disciples. And those thoughts brought me to this one. I grew up in North Carolina, where the official state holiday for Easter was always Easter Monday. When I was young, it meant a day off from school and and so I never questioned it. But as I grew older I found this tradition to be quite strange. There are 6 weeks of Lent, including Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Goof Friday and the actual celebration of Easter. Yet for some reason they used an extra day to invent an official holiday on which to acknowledge this high holy day. Easter Monday.

As I think back on that from this point in my life, I see it all differently. What actually happened on the first Easter Monday? What was going on in the lives of the people in Jerusalem as word spread that the tomb was empty and Jesus had been spotted walking about? I have a feeling it effected people in very different ways. But with apologies to The Bangles, this was not just another manic Monday. This was the MANIC MONDAY! Consider the following possibilities...

* The Jewish leaders had to be more nervous than a censor at rap concert. Their Roman overlords had given them the "Jesus Problem" to deal with, and then crucified him at their request. This rumor that he was still alive and ready to cause more trouble for the Empire was bound to bring down the full wrath of Caesar on the Pharisees if they didn't put an end to it quickly. Heads were going to roll. And you just KNOW that Pilate was getting a major "I told you so!" from his wife.

* The disciples had to be more confused than usual. They believed he was resurrected; they had seen him, touched him, talked with him. But given their track record, I have to believe that they had no idea yet what it meant. Was Jesus finally going to throw the Romans out? Would they keep traveling around as a team, with Jesus teaching and them providing support? And most of them had deserted him when things got tough. Did he even like them anymore? They had probably not been that confused since the Master started doodling in the sand...

* The Roman guards had to be miserable. You can just hear their statements to the TMZ reporters of the day. "Of course he was dead. We wouldn't have taken him down if he wasn't dead. We're not idiots!" And then from the guards at the tomb- "We never left our posts, and that boulder we put in front of the entrance was enormous! It's not our fault! What were we supposed to do, tell the freakin' angels not to move the rock?" I am sure if it happened today either President Obama, aliens or Kanye West would be blamed. And it would probably be Kanye's fault...

* And then there were the average citizens- people like you and I. The ones who yelled "Hosanna" on Palm Sunday and "Crucify him!" a few days later. How did they respond on Easter Monday? As the stories spread that this man Jesus had beaten death, did they believe or treat it like a National Enquirer headline? Were his radical teachings about peace, love and forgiveness suddenly more than just words, or was he still just another wacko street preacher? Were they now ready to truly believe?
    For me, those questions are at the root of what Easter Monday should be all about. We know the entire story, from beginning to end. We know the teachings of the man and glory of the King. We know the facts. So the question for each of us, as it was for Peter and everyone else on that first Easter Monday, has not changed. Who do we say that Jesus is? If after the miracle of the resurrection you can't answer with confidence that he was and is the living God, then you may never be able to answer with assurance. He beat death so that we might live. He restored us to a right relationship with the One who created us. Today is a day to BELIEVE and to change the way we live our lives. Today is the day to cling to our risen Savior and never let go again. Maybe NC had it right all those years ago.  Maybe we should recognize Easter Monday- as a day when we recommit to the One we claim to follow. How will you celebrate today?

    Because of Jesus,


    1. Anonymous4/06/2015

      Great post, CJ. One of your best. But I do have a complaint. I cannot get the song "Manic Monday" out of my head. So thanks for that! ~Chris Cooper

      1. Always glad to be of service, Chris! And I think it's one of my best too. I love trying to "fill in the blanks" of scripture.


    Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!