After Easter – What Next?

The week after Easter is often referred to as ‘Low Week’. This is perhaps because in comparison Holy Week finishes on such a high culminating with the resurrection of Jesus. Or it could be a slight misinterpretation of an ancient practice called ‘lauds’ meaning praise which is a service of early morning prayer usually at daybreak. In the Anglican Church we call this part of the ‘daily office’, and it is a good discipline to adopt as every day begins with prayer and scripture readings.

In the days following Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to his disciples and many others. What an amazing comfort this must have been for them after such a traumatic Holy Week. Jesus also promised he would not leave them to struggle on alone but would send the Holy Spirit to be with them. Jesus appeared at least 10 times to his disciples over the next 50 days until his ascension in the following scriptures:

This is a painting in Chichester Cathedral where Jesus is explaining to Mary that she cannot touch him as he has not yet ascended to his Father.

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:16-17

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Matthew 28:8-10

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. Luke 24:13-43

“The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Luke 24:34

As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” Luke 24:36

The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” John 20:26-29

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. John 21:1-2

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:6

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:7

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.  Luke 24:50-53

This week we have celebrated not only the resurrection of Jesus but also his appearing several times to the disciples and in public. The promise of the Holy Spirit is God’s way of taking care of us, we are never alone, he is always with us, even to the end of the age.

Let Us Pray

Lord God our Father,

through our Saviour Jesus Christ

you have assured us of eternal life

and in baptism have made us one with him:

deliver us from the death of sin

and raise us to new life in your love,

in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.



The Church of England  Daily Prayer Resources

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N T Wright

Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life by Eugene Peterson