What Do You Expect?
Easter Saturday morning Linda and I were having prayer and coffee on our deck, and we were discussing how this day was called Black Saturday by the ancient church. We wondered how the disciples must have felt, huddled in a secret room, scared, stunned, despondent. It occurred to us that if the disciples had taken Jesus at his word, if they had believed, really believed what he said, the day would have been demonstrably different.
Only a few days earlier, Jesus had said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” (Mark 9:31). Again he said, ““We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” (Mark 10:33-34)
Could Jesus have been any clearer? Had the disciples listened and believed, we can imagine them spending the day in excited anticipation, laughing, even giddy at the thought of what was about to happen. On Sunday morning they would have rushed the tomb together, certain of the miracle they were about to witness. As they rounded the corner and saw the radiance of the angels beaming out from the empty tomb, they would have shouted, “We knew it! It is just as he said!” Then, rejoicing they would head to Galilee watching for Jesus, their risen Lord.
With faith, the disciples would have turned Black Saturday into ‘Great Expectations Saturday’. Instead, you can hear the disappointments in the words of the angels at the tomb, “why do you seek the living among the dead?” It is the same exasperation that Jesus expressed when he lamented so often of the disciples, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ (See for example Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20, and Luke 12:28).
Why indeed! It’s easy for us to be filled with joyful anticipation on Easter Saturday because we know that Sunday is coming. And in that knowledge, we can all too readily throw the disciples under the bus for their lack of faith. But how about us, today? With Easter splendor in our rearview mirror and all the problems we left last Thursday now back at our doorstep, do we face ourchallenges as the disciples did on Saturday? Do we so easily forget the words of Jesus and end up seeking the living among the dead?
On this week after Easter, let’s remember his words that we might live in Easter joy.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
“And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
2 Samuel 22:2
He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.”
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
2 Chronicles 20:17
You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Peter 2:9
Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
In light of all the promises of God, why do we fear? Why do we worry? Why do we doubt?
When you pray do you expect him to answer? When you trust God to be your provider do you expect him to provide? When you ask for wisdom do you expect him to guide you into all truth?
Stewards live with a consistent expectation that God will keep his promises. They do not hesitate to ask God to keep his word and they are not surprised when he does.
Is your life filled with these expectations? Or are you still seeking the living among the dead?
May the joy of Easter fill you with the blessed assurance of Jesus’ faithfulness to you as one He loves, and upon whom he will pour out his blessings as you put your trust in him.