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Questions of Easter

Easter proclaims the bedrock declaration of the Christian faith: Christ is risen! However, each of the post-resurrection texts depends on, delves into, or leaves us with questions: questions that invite us to explore the meaning and impact of Jesus’s resurrection upon our lives. The early church struggled with some of these questions, to which Paul’s epistles bear witness. Subsequent generations of faithful, thinking followers of Jesus have continued to wrestle with these questions (as seen in the development of the creeds). As people born and shaped by Jesus’s resurrection, we’ll engage these questions together exploring resurrection, eternal life, the coming of Jesus in glory, and our calling together.  

In one sense, Easter morning always begins with a question for Jesus’s first disciples: “Where’s the body?” In John’s Gospel, Jesus shows up right away to answer that question, but only for Mary – the other disciples have run back to where they were staying. But this, in itself, begins to point us toward our own lives. How have we found ourselves running and longing to find a Jesus whom we cannot seem to grasp onto?  

In Jesus’s subsequent resurrection appearances, other questions emerge, at least beneath the surface of the scenes. They include questions of belief: Is he really real? Is this really happening? They seek further verification, to which we might sometimes relate in matters of faith. And so, we might ask, “What does Jesus do to verify or confirm our faith?” Other scenes beg questions of why our hearts feel like they’re burning within us, without fully understanding (the Emmaus scene in Luke 24, as well as John 20). Still other scenes ask really practical questions like, “What’s Jesus’s body like?”  

We’ve developed this series in prayerful and thoughtful response to comments received through our annual preaching survey (conducted each summer). Ultimately, the Questions of Easter lead us into conversations that are deeply rooted in our faith: questions about what we really believe about Jesus, who he was, what his resurrection accomplishes, and what God is doing in us as Jesus’s resurrection people. They’re also questions about what we believe about our own future, about Jesus’s ascension, about the time in between his ascension and his final coming in glory, and about what happens when we die.  

As you may recognize, these themes are, indeed, central tenets of our faith. We sing them in worship. And we pray through them with the language of the historic creeds of the church:  

“We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father…For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human…On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end…We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son…We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come” (Nicene Creed, UMH, 880).  

“I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord…On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead…I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting” (Apostles’ Creed, UMH, 882).   

And, as our confessions of faith, we also let the witness of scripture and tradition lead us more deeply into the life of Jesus through our pondering, reflection, and conversation. Let’s worship this season by exploring Easter’s questions. 

31-Mar – Easter Sunday – “Where’s His Body?” 

  • Text: Jn 20:1-18 (cf. Mark 16:1-18), 1 Cor 15:54-55 

7-Apr – What if Resurrection is Hard to Believe?  

  • Text: Jn 20:19-31; 1 Cor 15:1-20; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:8 

14-Apr – What’s His Body Like (What’s resurrection, really?)? (Matt Gone, Eclipse) 

  • Text: Lu 24:36b-48; 1 Cor 15:35-54  

21-Apr – Do You Have Any Fish? 

  • Text: Jn 21:1-8; Lu 5:1-11; Mt 13:47-50  

28-Apr – Do You Love Me?  

  • Text: Jn 21:9-19; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:8; 1 Thes 2:7b-8;  

5-May – “What About that Guy?” – Confirmation Sunday 

  • Text: Jn 21:20-25; Jn 20:30-31 (cf. Jn 10:14-16) 

12-May – Why Are You Just Standing There? (KHS Graduation)  

  • Text: Acts 1:1-11 (cf. Lu 24:44-53); 1 Thes 4:13-18; Rev 21:1-7 

The empty tomb with three crosses standing against a sunrise. On the left, a folded cloth sits on a stone bed. Above the bed are the words "Questions of Easter"

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