A Morning of Wonder and Expectation

by | Apr 17, 2022 | Sermons

A Morning of Wonder and Expectation

Easter blessings to you and those you love.

Scripture: Luke 24: 1-12

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

We come to this morning with a sense of wonder and expectation. We are excited by the good news of Christ’s resurrection which we once again proclaim with joy. As I read the gospel story I wonder what emotions that group of women was experiencing so long ago. Were they nervous? Afraid of guards who might also arrest them for attending to Jesus’ body? Were they sad and filled with grief for the death of their friend who preached about a better way of life for all people and was killed like a common criminal because of it?

The passage doesn’t tell us their emotions, but we can imagine. I believe this group of women was faithful. Mary Magdalen, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the others unnamed women who went forth that day. It is this faithful group of women who first discover the news of the resurrection and they are the first to preach about the empty tomb. The women didn’t get what they expected when they arrived at the tomb. It would have been frightening, off-putting, disturbing. It’s only when the men in dazzling clothes remind them that Jesus would rise from the dead that they remember. A reminder that God’s ways are not our ways.

I wonder what those women told the disciples after their discovery? Luke is light on the details of exactly what they shared, simply telling us that they told all they had seen and heard to the disciples. I wonder how wide their eyes must have been in surprise, in revelation, as the angels reminded them of all Jesus has said. Of the realization that it was true, he was risen from the grave. That death did not have the final word.

What a sense of wonder and expectation they must have had as they shared that news.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

And yet the disciples are full of doubt. They think the story of the women to be little more than an idle tale. Luke tells us that the disciples did not believe the women. This is important for more reasons that we realize. It is to women that the revelation of Christ’s resurrection is given. Women, who in that society would have been considered property or of lower social status than men. It is the women who believe, it is the women who first preach the good news and it is the men, those who represent the status quo, who we are told did not believe the good news. For Luke, as the gospel writer, to do this is earth shattering. It is a reminder that throughout the gospels Jesus preached about a world where the status quo, the social and economic order, was turned upside down and subverted. A reminder that God’s ways are not our ways.

Why don’t the disciples believe the women? Because in that society women didn’t have the credibility that they do now. Jesus throughout is arguing for something different, but even the disciples don’t fully understand the message so thorough is their defeat. The gospel message challenges our status quo, just as the discovery of the empty tomb smashes the expectations those women had that day. But those women were faithful, they share the news with the disciple.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.

What a sense of wonder and expectation to have been present there that day. We aren’t given science of the resurrection account. We are given mystery. We are invited to remember the words of Jesus and the promise that they hold. That he would be handed over, arrested, beaten, killed and on the third day he would rise again. I wonder if this is what the angels share with the women or do they go deeper. Do they remind them of the teaching of Jesus? The sermon on the mount? The feeding of the 5000? Are other insights illuminated for them?

It was for teaching about loving your neighbour and giving of your resources, for healing those society had marginalized that Jesus was arrested. He demonstrated a new way to live out the law, one based on grace rather than strict adherence to rules. This is why they arrested him; this is why they killed him. Because he taught a message of grace, mercy, and peace. And his resurrection, given to us simply as a description, that he would rise on the third day, demonstrates that God says yes grace, mercy, and peace. Scripture doesn’t give us science, it gives us mystery, grace, and a sense of wonder.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.

It’s only Peter among the disciples who decides to investigate the claim of the women. We don’t know if he initially believed them, we do know he ran to the tomb. Why the rush, why the urgency? Wouldn’t you run? He finds the tomb empty, no angels for Peter, but otherwise as the women described it. And though Luke doesn’t tell us anything or give us any narrative hints, I wonder if at that point Peter fully remembered what Jesus had taught them. I wonder if at that point Peter smiled to himself and thought, yes on the third day. I wonder if he looked around with fresh eyes, full of wonder. If he took a deep breath and realized that everything had changed, that the air was fresher now that resurrection had happened.

We do know that he was amazed. Amazed by all that had happened. I have to think that this is more than amazement at the resurrection, but rather a summation of travelling with Jesus for three years. All the ups and downs, doubts, questions, fear, and finally on this morning amazement. That yes, it had all been as Jesus said. That this was the way forward. That death wouldn’t have the final word, instead God’s message of life, of love, and grace would prevail. The next step for the disciples isn’t clear and their challenge becomes our challenge.

Friends, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.

What sense of wonder and expectation do you bring with you this morning? The disciples move from fear, disbelief, to amazement. The women are faithful. Faithful in caring for their fallen friend and faithful in sharing the message that he lives. But what do you do with that information? It is wonderful and it is amazing, but what do you do with it? What’s the next step? Even the disciples didn’t know! They would continue to hunker down for the next few weeks, waiting for things to settle down. But with God things don’t settle down. They are ever new, the resurrection changes all things and all moments have the opportunity to be filled with expectation.

Our challenge is to have an imagination that recognizes that God is doing something new and creative, even right now in this very moment. God is at work. That breath you just took, the spark of something new. A reminder of life, and of love. That we are on a journey of discovery, about ourselves and how we fit in with God’s wonderful creation. A journey of discovery about our faith, about a world more whole and complete, more loving and joyful.

And this journey matters! And it is full of wonder and expectation and all around us are reminders that Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Amen

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.

St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security. 

Kristina Nairn

Public Health Nurse, HKPR Health Unit

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