I love Easter. As a Christian, my whole life centers around it. As someone who works at a church, Easter weekend is like our Super Bowl weekend. It’s insanely busy and crazy but it’s all worth it because more people show up for church than at any other time in the year. More people come to hear about Jesus on Easter weekend than on 2-3 weekends combined throughout the year.
One of my favorite parts on Easter morning is reading Facebook or Twitter. Everyone comes up with their own creative and unique way of saying something about Jesus. It can be the traditional “He is risen!” status or it can be a song lyric from some worship song. The more creative people (aka the emo ones) will find a lyric from a secular band that could sound like Easter and post it (yes, I’m looking at every single one of you that posted a Mumford and Sons lyric).
As the morning goes on, people start posting Scripture or quotes that they heard from their pastor as their status or tweets. Pastors and church workers will start posting about how they’re blown away by the amount of people that have showed up or how God has moved in their service. A lot of them will even say how they’re so grateful for the x amount of people who were saved in their services that morning.
Reading all of this on my phone in between services is great. It gets me pumped up. It reminds me that we’re all working together and that every individual church makes up the Church.
However, every year I leave and go home feeling like I was missing something. I feel like there was something else that should’ve been said in those tweets or Facebook statuses.
I feel like we didn’t tell the entire story.
You see, we start in Matthew 26 (Mark 14, Luke 22) about how Jesus was with the disciples and doing the Passover meal. We talk about Judas betraying him. We talk about the first communion. We talk about Jesus in the Garden praying for a way out but ultimately praying for God’s will to happen. We hear about the kiss from Judas and Peter’s denial.
After we teach about all of that, we move on to Matthew 27 (Mark 15) and talk about how Pilate said Jesus was innocent but the Jews wanted him killed anyway. We teach about the beating that Jesus was given and how he was tortured. We even throw in a reference occasionally to Simon carrying the cross for Jesus. We talk about all of the things that happened before Jesus died, him saying, “It is finished” and then how the veil was torn, there was an earthquake, and dead people started coming alive again.
Then we move to Matthew 28 (Mark 16) and the resurrection, aka “The Good Part.” The two Mary’s get to the tomb and Jesus isn’t there, the stone’s been moved away, and then the angels appear to them. They go to tell the disciples about what happened and Jesus meets them on the road. Then we hear about the disciples seeing Jesus.
And then we go home.
Somewhere around Matthew 28:17 (Mark 16:15) the service ends and we all leave and go eat ham and mashed potatoes. Or, if we keep going, it’s usually the part about Jesus asking Peter if he loves him and telling him to take care of his sheep when they were eating breakfast on the beach. We never, ever, talk about what Jesus said to them before that.
The first thing that Jesus says to his disciples, the guys who knew him better than anyone else on the planet, after he rose from the dead was to go tell everyone about what he’s taught them and what he has showed them and what he did.
It’s the first thing he said but it’s the first thing we skip over on Easter.
We all made a big push to invite our friends and people we knew to church yesterday. For some of us it was awkward and for others it was an easy conversation. Sadly though, yesterday was the only service that many people will invite their friends and neighbors too all year.
Telling everyone about Jesus was the first thing Jesus told his disciples to do. Generally speaking, the first thing someone tells you to do is one of the most important things to do.
Yesterday many churches had 2-3 times as many people attending their worship services compared to what they usually have. Imagine what the world would look like if we continued inviting our friends and neighbors and that 2-3 times as many as “normal” because the new “normal.” Imagine if 3200 adults at Two Rivers Church became “normal” as opposed to the 1200 adults we have on a normal week now.
Jesus wants us to change the world and he wants us to start by telling our friends and our neighbors about him.
The easiest way to tell people about him is to invite them to church.
The question becomes who are you going to invite?