April 21, 2018
READ: John 15:7-11
I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (v.11).
How can they observe the season of Lent and then miss out on the feasting afterwards?” a friend asked, mulling over the seemingly lost practice of celebrating the season of Easter—the fifty days following Resurrection Sunday. Christians who follow a more liturgical tradition dedicate the forty days before Easter as a season of prayer and fasting (while celebrating the resurrection each Sunday), but they sometimes neglect to embrace the discipline of celebration during the Easter season. Fasting without the subsequent feasting loses the experience of joy that God longs for His people to know and embrace.
When Jesus spoke to His disciples before His death and resurrection, He promised them joy. He said He would remain close to them and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (see John 14:3,16-17). Instructing them to obey the Father and remain in His love, He said they would receive joy overflowing (John 15:10-11). Indeed, after His resurrection, the first words Jesus spoke to His friends assembled behind locked doors were, “Peace be with you.” And the disciples “were filled with joy” (20:19-20).
The risen Christ appeared to His disciples back then, but He also lives today. As we obey Him and join in His work, we rejoice knowing that He’s alive and that we’ll see Him again (16:22). He willingly fills us with the gift of joy.
Have you ever considered celebrating the weeks after Easter as a season of jubilee and feasting? We may not host extravagant parties, but we can foster an attitude of joy as we embrace Jesus’ final words on Earth before He died, rose again and returned to dwell among us. May our joy be complete and overflowing in Him.
—Amy Boucher Pye
365-day plan: 1 Kings 21:1-29
Consider how the Old Testament principle of a year of jubilee (see Leviticus 25:8-22) can inform our celebrations today.
How can you still celebrate if you’re feeling disappointed? What will help you foster an attitude of gratitude even in hard circumstances?