Expect Easter

Easter 2020 is not what you would expect.  There was no Easter breakfast, no church full of parishioners.  After all, there are only two days that American churches have a sharp increase in attendance – Christmas and Easter.  I have to ask why you attended worship this morning?  What did you expect to find?  Having an online only experience is new to just about everyone.  Even in this new televangelist age, the earthquake, the angels, and the empty tomb can all still mean just one thing.  Jesus lives!

The one phrase I want to key on from our Matthew text is how the women at the tomb reacted to the news from the angels.  Jesus was crucified – don’t remind me angel – but now he’s risen, just as he said!  The women left the tomb “afraid yet filled with joy.”  How can joy and fear be mixed together?  I think it goes back to expectation.  Where did the women expect Jesus to be?  He was supposed to be dead – at least that’s what they thought.  To be sure, Jesus had died on Good Friday.  The Roman guard broke the legs of the other two criminals to speed up the crucifixion, but when he got to Jesus, he didn’t break his legs.  Breaking the legs of someone who was being crucified hastened the process because the person could no longer breath.  With every breath Jesus would have had to have pushed up with his legs or pulled up with his arms.  This was excruciating.  This truth that Jesus was dead will be addressed directly in our Bible class.

But for the women, that joy of Easter hit them, and they weren’t ready for it.  Consider what a person is like in an emotional state of grief.  There is often no reasoning with such a person because they can’t.  When I’ve ministered to a family in this situation, just being there is enough.  This is an emotional and spiritual support.  That’s exactly what Jesus did.  He appeared to them and to all the family of believers, not just on that first Easter Sunday but for the next 40 days so that their joy might be complete.  After all, Easter wasn’t what they were expecting.

Want to hear more?  …including how Easter might not be what you expected?  Watch this year’s Easter message taken from Matthew 28.