There are some moments in life that leave us all thinking, “Now what?”. Maybe it was when your teacher handed you a huge assignment and you didn’t even know how to start. Maybe it was staring at the blank screen after that assignment accidentally got deleted. Maybe your “now what?” moment came while sitting on the side of the road with a broken down car. No matter what the situation, you have probably had few experiences that left you with no idea of what to do next. In many ways, that’s how Jesus’ followers felt after He was crucified. No one expected him to die. Many of them had left their homes and jobs and families to follow this man they thought would be their new leader, a king who would fix all of their problems. Then He was killed and all of those hopes came crashing down. Some cried. Some ran away. Some were paralyzed by fear. But deep down, everyone was asking the same question, “Now what?”.
Session One: Let Down
Bottom Line: Jesus is God’s amazing answer to “now what?”
Have you ever been really disappointed? Maybe your weekend plans got cancelled suddenly and now you’re sitting at home. Maybe you didn’t make the team. Or maybe it was something more serious like your parents giving you the tough news that they’re moving and you have to change schools. In moments like that, it’s easy to feel paralyzed. What do you do? What do you say? Where do you even start? In some ways, that’s how Jesus’ followers felt after He was crucified, especially one named Mary Magdalene. All of her hopes and plans for the future had hinged on Him and watching Him die meant watching those things die as well. It was painful and disappointing. And there were no instructions on what to do next. She was stuck. But there was something going on that Mary didn’t see. There was Someone she didn’t see. And as we take a closer look at her story, we may just find that our places of greatest disappointment can also become our places of greatest peace.
Session Two: On The Road Again
Bottom Line: He’s near even when you’re far.
Nothing is more disappointing than trying really hard at something and only getting worse. Whether it’s baseball, voice lessons or AP Calculus, there’s nothing fun about feeling like you’re going backward. In moments like that, our tendency, no matter the circumstances, is to give up, move on, or walk away. We tell ourselves “maybe it’s not meant to be” or “maybe I’m just not cut out for that”. Not long after Jesus’ death, many of His followers began to realize their situation was only getting worse. While some stayed in hiding, others began to walk away from Jerusalem, away from where Jesus was, away from the other believers. Two, in particular, were on the road out of town, when a stranger began to walk with them. And what they learned will forever change the way we see God, ourselves, and every situation where we’re tempted to walk away.