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John Bressler - Easter is over so now what?

John Bressler - Easter is over so now what?

John Bressler - Easter is over so now what?

John Bressler

    Easter is over, now what? As a pastor, I remember the day after Easter when I would look at my calendar and think how quiet the church will be, for a week maybe, and I can catch up on some stuff I had put aside until after the celebration was over. The fact is that the world goes on, everyday problems still exist and if we relax too much, opportunities can pass us by quicker than the blink of an eye.
    Obviously, not much had been happening with the disciples and as far as the future was concerned, they were clueless. In what I call the second ending to the Gospel of John, Simon Peter and a half dozen other disciples find themselves sitting by the Sea of Galilee, or Tiberias if you choose, doing what leaderless men do … nothing. I am very aware of the Synoptic Gospels and their clear endings of "what to do", but I believe John is speaking to a world that needs both reassurance and challenge.
    Maybe the problem exists with so many of us who aren't too sure that we are worthy enough to take up the cross and not too certain just what in the world are we expected to accomplish. Only John could write it in such a masterful way. If we aren't careful, we might just miss the teaching.
    Three times, Jesus asks Simon, "Do you love me," and three times Simon answers, "Yes, Lord, you know that I do." Easy in English, but tricky if we can't read Greek. There are four Greek words for love: agape, filio, eros and storge. The Greeks were smarter than we moderns, as we don't have enough brains to be specific: I love my dog, I love ham and eggs and I love my wife. Use your imaginations. They could say, "I love God (agape), I love people (filio), I love my family (storge), and you can figure out where we get the word 'erotic."
    Now, the lesson: Jesus asks Simon, "Do you love me?" Agape. Simon replies, "I love you." Filio. Again, Jesus asks, "Do you love me?" Agape. Simon answers, "Yes, Lord. I love you." Filio. The third time Jesus asks, "Simon, do you love me?" he uses the word Filio. What just happened here! Is it because Simon could not rise to such a level of pure love, or was it that Jesus came down to Simon's level of understanding and spoke to Simon like a brother to a brother? It is here that Simon Peter could truly understand and answer passionately, "Lord, you really know everything! You understand me! You know that I love you!"
    What happens after Easter? We are to feed the hungry. We are to care for the homeless. We are to be the Lord's caretakers for His world.
    After Easter, it is wonderful to lean back and celebrate the unbelievable undeserved grace of God and take a break. I think God understands. However, the world doesn't get a break. The world is still in darkness and too many continue to search for some hope that is just out of reach, perhaps in false promises or simply unattainable.
    The Good News is that we have the resource, we have the Word and we have the direction. "Follow me and do the work I have begun!"
    It's another way of saying, "Get out of the boat and get cracking!"
    Happy After Easter!

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