These are just some things for us to think about:
Only 5.6% of our Gospels contains events that happened upon or after Jesus' resurrection. Matthew and Mark have only 20 verses in their final chapter while Luke and John both proclaim 53 verses to Jesus' resurrection.
But over 13% of our Calendar year is dedicated to this season of "After Easter"
So, every year from Easter to Pentecost the same verses are read, the same topics are preached on. There are 6 Sundays between Easter and Pentecost, according to John Jesus only appears to his disciples 3 times before his ascension.
It is kind of amazing to me that so much of our Christian faith relies on the fact that Jesus did not die on the cross but instead ascended to heaven. This is important because it proved that Jesus was divine, that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. But the fact that the Gospel writers, those who followed Jesus the most, spent so much more time telling us about Jesus' life then on his resurrection.
I believe the Good News for us is this - in life Jesus' showed us the way. In life, Jesus was a perfect example of what a pure relationship with God is. We are called as Christians to live into that life. We are called as Christians to proclaim and spread Jesus' teachings. We do not inherit the Kingdom, if we do not live the way. We do not inherit the Kingdom by making our minds up after death. Jesus ascend to new life, in order that all who come to believe may inherit the Kingdom. His commission to the disciples was to go and spread, go and tell people all that he taught about not just his death and resurrection, which confirmed his divinity, but more importantly about his life.
The passages about the events after resurrection are powerful passages of doubt and truth. About God's love and the amazing grace that Jesus offers. Jesus appears to Mary, Jesus appears to "unimportant" followers on the road to Emmaus and Jesus appears to his disciples in a lock room. Such a powerful message to us that no matter who we are, we may experience Christ in our life. And a stark reminder that Jesus' resurrection was just confirmation of the claims of his divinity but it was his teachings and his life that changed our relationship with God, that gave way to the forgiveness and love that our merciful God has granted. It was Jesus' death on the cross, the culmination of a life lived in order that we may have new life.
Let us spend the last part of our "Sundays after Easter" trying to discover in new ways what Jesus' resurrection means to us in our life and how these few passages transformed the disciples into fearful, doubtful and lost people into the truth-living and grace spreading founders of the Church today. Let us let these passages speak anew to us and keep moving us into a deeper relationship with our Savior. Let us not get caught up in the "familiar" but instead inspired by the power of the Good News!