Post-Easter Depression?

Why don’t we ever hear about Post-Easter depression like we do with Christmas? I have to admit I may be one of those rare few to be sad when the calendar rolls past Easter.  Maybe it’s a pastor thing, but I console myself by reading about the 40 days of post-resurrection experiences Jesus had with his disciples.  Today I was reading about Mary Magdalene’s  deep sadness as she sought the body of Jesus in John 20:11-18.  The words used are “weeping,” which is not the “pretty crying” but the ugly, red-faced kind of crying.  Her sadness was mixed with mourning over Jesus, but also a frustration in trying to give honor to Jesus.  Normally, such an act would be commended such as when Jesus praised the women who anointed the feet of Jesus before his death.  Yet in this case, her attempt to honor the body of Jesus and all of her mourning was no longer appropriate.  She even wanted to “help” Jesus by carrying off the body from wherever it was laid.

All of her “religion” of a dead Jewish teacher was insufficient in light of a risen Savior.  Jesus came on the scene and spoke her name in a way she could connect the dots.  Interestingly, Jesus asked, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  As if it was absurd to cry at that moment and look for bodies? Yet, if Jesus has risen than her religion no longer matters.  The only thing that mattered at that second was her faith to believe that a resurrected Jesus was standing before her.  That faith transformed her sorrow into joy.  The encounter changed her mournful meander in a garden into a jubilant run to proclaim what she has heard.  All of our efforts to “honor” God can become woefully inadequate when we are not focusing on a Jesus that is working in our life and around us.  Do our demeanor and attitude reveal to the world that Jesus has risen from the dead?

For further post-resurrection reads look to John 20 -21, Matthew 28, Luke 24, Acts 1-2, 8:54-60, 9:1-19, and 1 Corinthians 15:1-19.

Jarrod Scott

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Amazing Love!

As we began Holy Week yesterday and look forward to Easter Sunday, may we approach each day leading up to this Resurrection Sunday with prayerful consideration of the Amazing Love that was shown by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We are reminded in Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.”  Not only did He take on our sins willfully and sacrificially, but Jesus alone was the only One capable of taking this burden as He conquered hell and the grave and arose from the tomb on the Third day.

The traditional hymn “Up from the Grave He Arose” comes to my mind as I think about Easter Sunday.  “Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord! Up from the grave He arose; with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever, with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!  We indeed serve a risen Savior who is mighty and triumphant!

For this Holy week, I’d like to share with you some devotional scripture readings and excerpts that are taken from John Pipers devotional book titled “Love to the Uttermost”.  The challenge for us is to read each day prayerfully and allow the Lord to speak to our heart as we consider how He Loves us to the Uttermost:

Palm Sunday (Luke 12:32) “God’s joy, His desire, His want and wish and hope and pleasure and gladness and delight, is to give the kingdom to His flock.”

Monday (Luke 9:51-56) “Jesus, who was the very embodiment of His Father’s love for sinners, saw that the time had come and set His face to fulfill His mission: to die in Jerusalem for our sake.”

Tuesday (Romans 5:6-8) “The ultimate freedom is joy.  He rejoiced to do His redeeming work for us.”

Wednesday (John 13:19) “Jesus took up the principle of John 13:19 and foretold numerous details of what was going to happen to Him so that we might believe when they happened.”

Maundy Thursday (John 13:34) “Let us see the greatest love in action on Maundy Thursday and tomorrow on Good Friday.  Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.  He loved us to the uttermost.”

Good Friday (Hebrews 7:25) “He magnifies His mercy by giving us free access through His Son, in spite of our sin, to the one Reality that can satisfy us completely and forever, namely, himself.”

Saturday (Luke 22:63-65) “I felt that if the rage of God would spill over onto those soldiers and sweep me away, too, justice would have been done.  I wasn’t there, but their sin was my sin…..I do not deserve to escape, for I know my own heart.  But I trust Christ, and so I know the judgement will be turned to joy.”

Easter Sunday (John 10:17-18) “I am alive to show you that I really loved you.  I freely loved you.  Nobody forced me to it.  And I am now alive to spend eternity loving you with omnipotent resurrection love forever and ever.”

A full copy of this free devotional eBook “Love to the Uttermost” can be downloaded by following this link at DesiringGod.org.

Jason Hicks

“She Laughs at the time to come”

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Isn’t it wonderful that God made us to laugh?  These are some of my favorite pictures of each of my children.  To this day, I smile at their sight.  Have you wondered what laughter reveals about God and about us?  Laughter can express scorn, hatred, and unbelief.  Or laughter can express joy, humility, strength, and faith.  We love pictures of children laughing for usually, it expresses the innocence of youth with all of its joy and great faith.  The child’s soul hasn’t been ravaged by sin in this world.  Yet, just because there are sin and death in this world, the believer in Christ does not have to lose joyful laughter.

Proverbs 31:25 was advice given by a mother to a king describing the virtuous woman, the kind of woman she wanted for her son.  “Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.” This woman is not naive to the potential pitfalls of this world, yet she rejects fear and anxiety as a reaction to the adversity.  According to verse 30, this woman knows God’s authority and rests in His control.  Do we realize that God has hold of all our tomorrows? As sweet as laughing children may be, sweeter still we be the laughter of faith even through the sorrow.  This is the effect of resurrection and Easter when he said:

” So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full”. John 16:22-25

Remember that God’s authority reigns over our future.

Remember that Jesus resurrection means that sorrowful things become joyful things.

Pray for joy and even laughter that flows from faith.

Look to the one who will write the final chapter of our soul and is writing our life now. He promised joy.

If you want to read more about this subject, you might want to check out Kate Merrick’s new book, And Still She Laughs.

Jarrod Scott