By Chuck Williams
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Milan
Many things in life are expected — the sun will come up, taxes will go up, inflation will go up, kids will grow up, and some days we want to give up.
But there are some things that are not expected. The Resurrection of Christ is the world’s greatest “unexpectation.” The Pharisees and Romans expected the disciples to attempt to steal Jesus’ body. They never expected what would happen that glorious Sunday morning.
Here are three great unexpectations:
The earthquake. Mary Magdalene and Mary (who was the mother of the disciple James the Younger) were on their way to the tomb. Possibly the earthquake took place a few minutes before they arrived.
They had already had three traumatic days — watching Jesus be crucified, seeing the disciples flee and helping take His body from the cross. Now as they go back to the tomb the ground rocks back and forth. Earthquakes never arrive as expected.
The angel. The arrival of an angel from heaven was a great unexpectation to the Roman guards. The Greek word for guard is “tayraho,” which means to “watch attentively.”
The punishment for failure to properly carry out their duty was court marshal and execution. Obviously they intended to do the job properly. As they closely monitored the area their eyes were filled with light and their hearts were filled with fright. They had a phobia attack of epic proportions. They fell out like fainting goats, frozen in place as the angel rolled away the stone.
The Lord unexpectantly sent His muscular angelic messenger, not so Jesus could escape from the tomb. He could easily have done that Himself; but it was so the disciples and others could go in and see the empty tomb and the graveclothes.
The appearance of Jesus. This was the greatest of all unexpectations. When they took Jesus’ body from the cross, all thought this would be the last time they would ever see him. His appearance to the women and later the disciples defied belief and understanding. But it also filled them with joy, determination and victory.
The great unexpectation of Jesus’ appearance created and validates His Deity, Holy God wrapped in human flesh. It validates His teachings. All that He said was the Truth and nothing but the truth.
It validates more than 200 Old Testament prophecies concerning His birth, life, death, burial and resurrection. It validates the formation and foundation of the church, which is His Bride. It validates the virgin birth. How can one believe in the virgin birth? One must go back to the empty tomb and there see the example of God’s Omnipotent power. Without the resurrection none of the miracles can be believed. It also validates our salvation. If Christ is not raised from the dead, we are absolutely left in the misery of sin and hopeless concerning life after death.
The great unexpectation on our part is that He invites all of us to come to Him in our darkness, deadness and defeat and receive His life, love and victory. Will you receive Him? B&R