A New Day – by Matthew Yeoman
It was a day like every other day in April. Except after this day, I was never the same.
I was 18 years old. I was getting ready to graduate high school and was looking forward to starting my life. But in this season, my life was anything but normal. Over the period of years, I began to feel the reality of life’s problems as a crushing weight upon my soul. Life felt pretty hopeless.
I was an exceptional student, a student athlete, and liked by others. On the outside I looked like a normal 18 year old. But inside I was becoming more and more hidden to myself and others. It was hard for me to see any purpose to all of this. I mean, where was all of this leading? Does life have a greater purpose other than just getting by everyday?
On one of many of those unexceptional days, I was invited by some friends to hang out. This was a new experience for me. Never before did I have classmates from school ask me to hang out. This was special for me. The events of the night unfolded and I was enjoying myself. Then came that time when I was offered to smoke pot with them. At this point in my life, I didn’t have a lot of reasons not to. So I did. This led me down a path of using drugs for the next five months.
On one of these drug filled days, I was sitting on the porch admiring the beauty of the day. As I reflected over this particular day, I came to notice just how perfect it was. From the soft dew on the grass in the morning, to the sunshine, the fluffy clouds and gentle breeze, to the friends who were with me on this day, there was something unique about this day.
At the time, I thought a lot about the existence of God. I wondered about the purpose of this life as I ironically numbed myself to the reality of it. I had attended church sparsely growing up. Honestly, I didn’t know much about the whole religion thing. But I recognized that there was something special about this day. The day was April 5th and it was the day after Easter Sunday. I knew that I needed to find out what this day was all about.
After this day, I was on a quest to find out what happened on this day in history. What I have discovered…not much. There is not much mentioned about the day after Easter in the Bible or in history. So what was it about this day that caught my attention?
What was unique about the day after Easter Sunday is simply that. It was the day after.
In order to understand the significance of the day after, we must first understand the significance of Easter Sunday. It all started when these disciples began following this guy named Jesus around the countryside. They saw him teach about God. They saw him do things that they have never seen anybody else do. They saw him heal the sick, give sight to those who were blind, and even raise those who had died. They saw him authoritatively confront the leaders who represented the holiness of God to them. They were convinced this Jesus was the anointed one of God who was going to give them personal and political freedom. I mean, it’s hard not to follow anybody who is able to do all of these things.
Everything was perfect. They were friends with the one who was going to do for their people what their fathers and their father’s fathers had talked about. On one special day, they stood with a multitude of others as Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover. This was it! They were going to have a front row seat to the biggest event in all of history. Nothing could stop this.
Then, everything seemed to go wrong. In the middle of the night, soldiers representing those very religious leaders came and arrested Jesus. For most of them, their response was to run. By morning, the person they were expecting to bring their freedom was experiencing of the most painful, disgraceful ways to die in their culture. None of this made any sense. How can one who did all the right things and say all the right words be experiencing such a shameful death? By 3pm, Jesus had died.
Now the disciples enter the Passover not with hopeful anticipation of how Jesus was going to lead them to freedom but rather wondering if they had been misguided the whole time.
On Sunday, some of the women went to the tomb where Jesus was buried to finish some of the burial rituals. But there is only one problem, he was not there. An angel appeared and told them that Jesus had risen from the dead. In their bewilderment, they went back to tell the others. Later, Jesus himself appeared to them all. Was this even possible? Jesus was alive!
Jesus explained to them that this death needed to happen. He did come to free them as they had hoped. But he came to free them from every oppression, including themselves. So here stood Jesus, the living stamp of confirmation of everything he had taught them and showed them. They were standing in the presence of the one they had anticipated. They did in fact have front row seats to the greatest event in history. This was Resurrection Sunday. Not only had he raised others from the dead, but he had beaten death itself. The events of this day would change history forever.
Then came the day after. It was a new day. Monday was a day in which there wasn’t anticipation, there wasn’t doubts of being misguided, there wasn’t wonder and excitement about seeing the one they saw die three days prior. But Monday brought a new day in which now the truths of the events of Sunday were a reality. It was a day of living in newness, a day of walking with eyes open, and a day of now living life with the resurrected Jesus.
This is what the day after Easter Sunday meant. It was the first full day in which the reality of the resurrection was part of the disciple’s lives going forward. It was a new day in which nothing would ever be the same again. The day after was a new day in which the resurrection is a reality.
This is what this day meant for me. It was hope that despite myself, there was freedom and life offered to me as a new way of living. About a month after that Monday, I said “yes” to what Jesus offered me. I haven’t been the same since.