“What Do We Do Now?”

It’s one of the greatest movie lines of all time, yet few people are aware of it. In 1972’s “The Candidate,” Robert Redford portrays a young, handsome, idealistic son of a former California governor who is talked into a run for U.S. Senate against a popular incumbent. No one, not even his own campaign manager, expects him to win. Despite that, his campaign slowly builds momentum, and he does indeed win. Never expecting victory, he’s in total disbelief. As the movie ends, he asks his campaign manager: “What do we do now?” He wasn’t prepared with a post-victory plan of action because he didn’t expect victory. Christ-followers can experience the same thing after Easter; they leave victory on the cross.

One week ago, we were awestruck with the sacrifice Jesus made for us; what he endured and what it means for us. One week later, what are we doing with that? Jesus has risen and defeated death, earning our salvation for us. Are we dumbstruck like the fictional senate candidate in the movie who doesn’t know what to do with victory? We have two role models to learn from – an astronaut and Jesus Himself. First, the astronaut.

Rick Husband was the commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia during its mission in late January 2003. Like all NASA astronauts, Husband was required to fill out a form citing his wishes for his funeral, in the event he didn’t survive the mission. On February 1, during reentry, a wing damaged on liftoff (which went unnoticed) allowed the superheated gases of the atmosphere to enter the craft. It disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana. When the envelope containing his instructions for the memorial service was opened, the form he filled out simply read: “Tell them about Jesus, He is real to me.” He didn’t want it to be about him, he wanted what he knew would be a difficult moment for everyone in attendance to focus on Jesus.

So, let’s follow Husband’s example while we are alive and “tell them about Jesus.” And Jesus Himself gave us a model for a post-Easter action plan after He rose from the dead:

…until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After His suffering, He presented Himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:2-3 (NIV)

Jesus did three things (I’m changing the order a bit for our purposes):

  1. He showed up and proved He was alive.
  2. He instructed through the Holy Spirit.
  3. He spoke about the Kingdom of God.

How can we show up, instruct through the Spirit, and speak about the Kingdom of God? It’s easy, once we do something very hard: surrender our entire lives to Christ. Oswald Chambers called this “co-resurrection:”

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

When we understand that Easter means we can die to Christ, giving our whole selves to Him, and then rise with Christ, those three steps are easy. Paraphrasing C.S. Lewis, it’s the hardest easy thing we’ll ever do. To acknowledge that God is in charge of all that we are, all that we do, is difficult. But Jesus showed us how with His own Sacrifice.

Then when we show up, Jesus in us can show up to others, proving He is alive. When we receive instruction through the Holy Spirit, other people will see that in us. When we allow God to do those two things, that may create an environment where people ask us to speak to them about the Kingdom of God.

After He rose, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, Peter, two followers on the road to Emmaus, to the surviving 11 numerous times over 40 days, and, according to Paul, to 500 unnamed people. He had a post-Easter action plan. Do we? Easter is too amazing to keep to yourself. And one of the most precious Easter gifts is that, if you let Him, Jesus will do the heavy lifting!

Tell them about Jesus and why He is real to you!

— Pastor Jerry Bader

1 Comment
  • Steve Launer
    Posted at 17:12h, 17 April Reply

    This is the most common question for most Christians. Similar to Christmas, the “now what” looms over us. I look to Acts and take the examples there in dealing with people one-on-one, and being bold enough to allow the Spirit of the living God to speak using my mouth.

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