Summary: What do you do when the band stops playing and the “Amen’s” are no longer shouted? What do you do when it seems like faith has been misguided? Consider the condition of the disciples on the day after Easter.
THE DAY AFTER EASTER
Introduction: Edgar Allen Poe wrote, “When the excitement dies, the elevation of soul ends and so does the poem, in so far as it is a poem.” What do you do when the band stops playing and the “Amen’s” are no longer shouted? What do you do when it seems like faith has been misguided? Consider the condition of the disciples on the day after Easter.
I. The Emotional Excitement of the Resurrection Events
A. The great sadness of Jesus’ death on the cross, the crushed dreams and aspirations of the followers of Christ and the accompanying three protracted days of silence would be shattered giving way to the exhilaration and wonder of the most amazing events on Easter.
B. The Bible tells us that the women returned to Joseph’s garden tomb where the lifeless body of Jesus was laid having been taken down from the cross before the Jewish Sabbath. They traveled to the garden tomb on Sunday at “early dawn” — the Greek word is literally being “deep” dawn, referring to that wonderfully opaque, eerily mysterious hour just before sunrise, when everything is gray and it is difficult to see and distinguish objects return. The first person to see Jesus alive was Mary Magdalene who had arrived at the sepulcher very early while it was yet dark. Immediately she ran back by the shortest way to inform Peter and John of this fact (John 20:1). The other women finished their two mile’s walk from Bethany to the tomb, arrived a little after the rising of the sun (Mark 16:2). An angel suddenly appeared to them and gave them an urgent message to the disciples. Another party of women came a little later, and saw "two young men" dressed in white at the tomb, and received words of comfort and instruction (Luke 24:4). About 6:30 a.m. Peter and John arrive, John running ahead (John 20:11-13). Mary Magdalene returned a little later and saw two angels (John 20:11-13). About 7:00 a.m. Jesus revealed Himself to the company of women returning to the sepulcher, and sent them with the charge to the discciples to go to Galilee (Matt 28:9f). About 4 p.m. Christ appeared to Simon Peter (Luke 24:23; 1Cor 15:5), and from 4-6 p.m. to Clephas and his companion on the way to Emmaus. Finally, in the evening, probably about 8 p.m., the risen Lord appeared to the eleven and others in the room with barred doors (Luke 24:36f; Mark 16:14; John 20:19f). This day was certainly unlike any other day. This was a day that would never be forgotten.
C. Easter did not begin with the singing of Hallelujah. The day began with the emotion of fear. It began with the cry of fear. We have developed a day of sweet celebration, all the while forgetting that Easter began basically with frightening events, the earthquake, the stone rolled away, the bright messenger, the mighty Roman becoming like dead men, the fear of the women that the body of the Master had been stolen. Their fear is quickly joined by great joy.
D. Matthew 28:8-9 “So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.”
E. The day started with fear and joy and truly was one filled with excitement, awe and wonder.
II. The Psychological Impact of the Post Resurrection Quiet
A. Imagine if you would what it must have been like that for the disciples after that first Easter Sunday. None of them had actually seen the resurrection. They had heard the reports about the empty tomb; a couple of them had seen a mysterious stranger on the road to Emmaus, who appeared to be Jesus. Peter and the others had seen Him but for a brief time. Things were now quickly returning to normal.
B. The day after the resurrection started like most other days. Nothing spectacular is recorded in the Scriptures as having happened. In fact there is silence about the day after Easter.
C. The day before was a mountaintop experience filled with excitement and emotion, but now they had to face blue Monday. Waking up on the morning after Easter the world strangely looked pretty much the same as it had looked before they had gone through the ordeal of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and the resurrection. Things looked like everything went back to the way it was before they had met Christ. It looked discouraging.
D. Over the next few days the discouragement increased as they waited for Christ to appear to them again. In John 21, we read that some of the disciples had gathered at Peter’s home in Capernaum, waiting for Jesus, when Peter, impatient and discouraged announced that he was returning to his fishing business.