Pella Chronicle

Religion

May 6, 2013

It’s Still Easter (Really!)

Pella —

You may not realize this, but it’s still Easter!  Really?  Yes, indeed.  Even though Easter is a particular Sunday (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox–it’s complicated, but it’s been working since AD 325), the Church celebrates the Easter season for the 40 days from Easter Sunday until Ascension Thursday.  Just as Lent coincides with the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the wilderness, so the 40 days of Easter season commemorates the 40 days that Jesus was alive on earth after his resurrection, before he left.
Why did Jesus stay here for 40 days before departing to take his seat at God’s right hand?  Two reasons are explicit, and the other is implied.  We read, “To them [the apostles] he presented himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)  The first reason he stayed here was to prove to the apostles that he was alive–not as a disembodied spirit, but as a complete human being, body and soul.  He did this so that they could provide eyewitness testimony to the gospel events, something they were specifically chosen to do (Lk. 24:48; Jn. 15:27; Acts 1:8, 21-22; 2:32; 5:32; 10:40-42; 13:31).  The Christian faith is not a made-up fantasy, but historical reality based on eyewitness testimony to the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, never to die again.
The second reason Jesus stayed here for a time was so that he could commission the apostles, and through them, the Church, to make disciples of all nations by going, baptizing in the name of the triune God, and teaching people to obey all that Jesus had taught them.  We find this commission in all of the resurrection narratives and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Mt. 28; Mk. 16; Lk. 24; Jn. 20-22; Acts 1:7-8).  Jesus is not only alive: he is Lord, and he commands the nations to submit to him.  

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