What Happened Next?
Jesus never leaves us. We don’t have to doubt because we know His plans. We may not know the intricate details of our lives and what He wants us to do, but we can have assurance knowing His larger plans are clearly laid out in the Bible.
Jesus gives us an example of this through His conversations with His disciples. At the last dinner Jesus had with them, he explained what would happen:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.
But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.’” (Matthew 26:31-32 Underline added)
Jesus had been preparing the disciples for the day of His death. He knew that fear would overtake them and they would run for their lives. To be fair, I think any of us probably would. Something scary and big was going down. They had witnessed Jesus do so many miracles and teach about the eternal kingdom to come. They knew the power of God at work. But they felt the tensions rise all around them as the Jewish leaders planned to take Jesus down.
Their leader was captured and killed. All of their dreams and plans by their understanding were ruined. So, they did what they thought was safest. They retreated into a locked house in fear of the Jews.
Some of the women that followed Jesus went to the tomb to lay spices on Jesus’ body. But when they got there, they were met with an empty tomb and an angel. He explained that Jesus had been resurrected. He also told them, “Go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you” (Matthew 28:7 Underline added).
The women went to tell the disciples, but the disciples were so shocked that they didn’t go to Galilee. In fact, Jesus had to appear to them twice in the locked house before they got up and went to Galilee.
“In the evening of the first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ … After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, ‘Peace to you!’” (John 20:19, 26).
There were some other things that took place after that. But finally, his disciples went to the sea of Galilee where Jesus revealed Himself again to them.
Jesus corrected Peter’s denial of Him and shared His love and assurance with His disciples. He gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit and understanding of His teaching. He continued to do miracles before them, finishing what He had started.
For example, when Jesus called the disciples to follow Him at the beginning of His ministry, He told Peter to throw the net back in the water in order to catch some fish after a long night of nothing. Peter, known as Simon at the time replied,
“’Master’… ‘we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at your word, I’ll let down the nets.’ When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners to come help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
… “‘Don’t be afraid,’ Jesus told Simon. ‘From now on you will be catching people!’ Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him” (Luke 5:5-7, 10b-11)
Then, after Jesus’ resurrection, back in Galilee, Jesus had not come to them yet. Peter, along with six of the other disciples went fishing. It’s what they knew how to do.
“They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore. However, the disciples did not know it was Jesus.
‘Men,’ Jesus called to them, ‘you don’t have any fish, do you?’
‘No,’ they answered.
‘Cast your net on the right side of the boat,’ He told them, ‘and you’ll find some.’ So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. Therefore, the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” (John 21:3b-7)
There were many things that Jesus finished similar to how He started with them. Jesus took the time with them to explain everything so that they would be equipped and prepared for the ministry ahead. “Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27).
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).
Jesus set out their plans and told them to take the gospel into all the world. He gave them the understanding of Scripture, through the Holy Spirit, so that they would know what to write and how to teach and disciple others; How to raise up the churches on a solid foundation.
Just like He did with the disciples, He’ll do with you too. If you’ve gone through a hard time and feel yourself questioning your faith, trust that God will show up, just like He did for the disciples in the locked house.
If you’ve started something in faith knowing that God called you to it, but you’re growing weary and unsure if you should proceed, God will reveal if you should keep going, just like He did with the fish in the boat.
He is discipling you and helping you to grow in your faith. He’s teaching you His word so that you can adequately and confidently teach others as well. He’s given you the future plans so that you can have confident hope of the eternal glorious home that’s awaiting you. And, He’s equipped you with His Spirit to keep you on the right path towards your home. He has empowered you to do all that He’s called you to.
Though Jesus doesn’t reside on this earth for now, His Spirit does, and we never have to question Him again. All the answers and tools we need lie within the pages of the Bible. May you carry the truth of the gospel shared at Easter in your heart this year and always, knowing the bigger picture and all that He desires for you.