Have you ever been really surprised, I mean really shocked…in a pleasant way? Remember when Eli Manning hit David Tyree with that impossible pass in the final two minutes of Superbowl XLII…. against the Patriots. I jumped so high, I almost hit my head on the ceiling. We were screaming with joy.
I’ve had a few of those moments over my almost 74 years. To really fulfill the criteria for that “super, great, shocking, fantastic surprise”, you need to be coming from the verge of a “super, major, awful disappointment.”
Well on Good Friday, the apostles had just experienced the “super, major, awful” part of the equation. Their hopes of having found the Messiah and having become part of God’s family…seeing miracles and signs and wonders and healings and forgiveness of sins… had come crashing down. Jesus was dead. They had seen him humiliated, tortured, and killed. He was gone. It was over. It was bad, really bad. It was the kind of disappointment where you can’t even get your breath. Then after three days, they begin to hear rumors and rumblings and messages that “he’s alive”. Quickly they discount the rumors, but run to check it out. Hoping against hope, Peter and John run to the tomb…disbelieving, but still running to the tomb….it’s not true, but let’s at least check it out. Wooooah, the tomb is empty….. woooah. And then Jesus shows up. They don’t jump up and down or start shouting… it’s too big and too deep for that. They sit in his presence and allow the Lord to minister to them….”peace be with you.. do not be afraid”. Easter is a day for celebration…our sins are forgiven, there’s no more reason to fear, the doors of our heavenly home are now open, all is well with my soul. Talk about surprises.