The Suprise of Their Lives!
The Surprise of Their Lives!
On the first Easter Sunday morning, way before it was ever called Easter, the women who made their way to the tomb, were in for the surprise of their lives. Can you even imagine?
After all they’d experienced… everything they’d witnessed… surprised seems a mild way to put it.
The women knew Jesus… they’d witnessed many of his miracles, and listened to his teachings, alongside Peter, James, John, and the other disciples. They knew Jesus taught as one with authority – and they knew of his love and healing, personally. They could testify that he had fed multitudes… that he’d healed the sick, including Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They knew he was the Resurrection and life... and they had professed no less. They believed Jesus, and believed IN Jesus, with all their heart... He was the Promised One… the Messiah… the Deliverer… come to set God’s People free!
But now… well, now Jesus was dead. They’d watched the Roman soldiers mock Jesus, with a scarlet robe, a crown of thorns… they looked on as Jesus was forced to carry his own cross up a hill called Golgotha. They had witnessed the nails, the cruelty… They’d read the placard with the inscription, “This is Jesus, King of the Jews” They’d heard him cry out to God, “Why, why have you forsaken me.”
These women were among those who’d actually seen Jesus’ life ebb away. No hearsay, or third-party testimony. It was all too real. They saw it all with their own eyes.
So, as they made their way to the tomb, to grieve… to mourn the loss… and to pay respect to the one who’d given so much to them... I’m sure the women had prepared themselves for what to expect. A stark, sealed grave, that would have contained the lifeless body of their friend, and teacher... the person they’d believed was so much more.
Imagine their surprise, when, instead of finding a closed tomb, they found an open grave.
Despite the watch of Roman guards (who’d literally been scared stiff), someone had apparently stolen Jesus’ body, and desecrated his grave. Insult to injury.
But there, at the entrance, an angel greeting the women (again, can you imagine their surprise?). The angel said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said."
For these women, and for every follower of Christ, life would never be the same. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead literally changed the course of history.
The surprise of their lives, had changed their lives, and ours, forever!
But that leads me to ask, how? How does the resurrection effect your life, and my life... 2000 years later?
Well... the resurrection is God's way of declaring that there is more (much more!) to this life than just living and dying. God is saying we don't have to be stuck in our past. The risen Savior hit the delete button on our sins. His sacrifice paid the price we couldn’t afford to pay for our redemption, our forgiveness… and his resurrection has opened for us the path of life, and joy, and hope. Jesus’ resurrection is the promise of our eternal life, and the assurance that this life is not the end.
The resurrection is also God’s way of insuring us, that we don't have to wonder who’s in charge of the present, because this Savior has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. And His authority includes all those things in life that cause us grief, and pain. He will work through all those things, making us walk in the fullness of His grace that’s at work within us.
And, the resurrection is God’s way of affirming, that as believers, as followers of Jesus Christ, you and I will never have to wonder about the future and what's ahead, because nothing, absolutely nothing in all of creation "will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39). Not even death.
So, let's celebrate today! “Hang out the banners and shout the news! Blow the trumpets and horns, until there is no one who has not heard” Christ is Risen! Praise God that Jesus is alive.
"Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!"