We have just celebrated Holy Week, culminating in Sunday’s resurrection! It is easy for us to take for granted what we celebrate at Easter. So, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, what came next?
Toward the end of the Gospel of John, we read about Peter’s redemption. One of the most memorable moments following the arrest of Jesus was Peter’s denial. After saying he would follow Jesus, even to death, Peter denied any association with Jesus three times. But, after the miraculous catch of fish following the resurrection, when the disciples had just finished lunch with Jesus on the beach, Jesus turned to Peter and said, “'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.'” (John 21:15) Jesus asked him again if he loved him, and Peter responded with the same answer. He asked a third time, and Peter responded again affirming that he loved him and that Jesus knew all things. Then “Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me.'” (John 21:17-19)
There are a couple of things at play here. The first is Jesus is offering a redemptive moment to Peter who had denied him three times and is now given the opportunity to affirm his love for Jesus three times. The second is what comes from that redemption and aligns with the previous two things in scripture that I wrote about. Jesus is now telling Peter that he will be following a path that will remove his will and pursue God’s will. This moment between Jesus and Peter harkens back to the moment of Jesus in the Garden where Jesus is going to have to take the difficult path to do the Father’s will. Even if we go back to Mary anointing Jesus in symbolic preparation for burial in Bethany, we see the priority of God’s glory. In all three of these situations, it was a rejection of the natural human instinct - sell the nard and give the money to the poor; take this cup from me in the Garden; and a rejection of Peter’s former will - and pursuit of God’s glory and will.
So, what comes after the sacrifice and resurrection? Obedience. Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me!” Jesus said to the Father, “Not my will, but your will.” Mary honored Jesus without regard for the cost of the perfume. Jesus says the same to us - follow me and not your will but my will. He desires the gift of our lives with little regard for the cost. He wants us to follow him to easy places and dark and difficult places. His will not ours. At eduKenya, he has asked that we do not simply care for the poor, but that we would first seek to bring glory to God. It is from that foundation that we offer our service to God and to those struggling in poverty.
That is what drives us - not simply putting food in bellies and children in a school, but in the pursuit of a transformed life that lives in submission to the will of God.