The resurrection of Jesus Christ — bodily, gloriously, alive forevermore (Rev. 1:18) — is the eucatastrophe of world history. Everything changes because of this historic fact. Thus, Easter has become the ultimate game-changer for the human experience.
After his resurrection, the disciples' "now what?" consisted of another forty days of Jesus' earthly ministry among them, teaching them and fellowshiping with them. At the end of those forty days, Jesus' ascended to heaven, where he always lives to intercede for those who believe in him. Those forty days must have been so precious for his staggering, joyful friends, and his ceremonial "exit" was marked by the official bestowing of the Holy Spirit.
Just as Noah enjoyed forty days of safety in the ark while the storm raged outside, to be concluded by the sending of a dove, the disciples' forty days with Jesus was sealed with the sending of the Spirit, a constant Comforter in the midst of our own storms, that truly "the water has subsided."
This means for them — and for all who believe — that the worst thing that could happen has already happened. Christ was really killed. But he truly is alive. The tomb is empty. Forever. The sin that condemned us is forgiven. Forever. And the Spirit bears witness to our spirits that the Lord has not left us as orphans. Indeed, he has not truly left us!
We know now that whatever we face, be they personal trials or global pandemics, the good news endures and cannot be conquered. With the empty tomb in the rearview mirror, even the grave before us poses no threat. For death could not hold him, and therefore it cannot hold us. Even the taking up of our own cross has become a light burden compared to the past bondage of sin.
Jesus holds the keys to death and the grave. He has vaporized death's stinger. The power of sin is defeated. And he has only gone to prepare the place for us, that where he is now, we will also be someday.
And that day is coming soon. Forty days will seem like nothing. Forty years is only a blip on the radar. Forty generations will pass in the blink of an eye. Because he is coming soon, quickly.
When the stone rolled away, more light streamed out than in. With death itself conquered, Christ is reversing the curse in all who pledge allegiance to him, and he will reverse it climactically in the very earth itself. Mary at first mistook him for a gardener, and that is just as well, for up from the ground will spring the promise of the new creation. It is breaking forth all around us in the Church's spread in the proclamation of the good news. And as He has become the first fruits of our resurrection, we who have been changed by grace are the first fruits of this new creation He is cultivating by his glorious power. He is making all things new!
The day is coming when the groaning of creation will be satisfied by the consumation of Christ's kingdom in a restored earth. The echoes of that first garden will resound in a way of which even Adam could not have dreamed. Everything sad will come untrue.
So repent and believe, and the worst thing that could ever happen will instantly become past tense for you too.