Unrealistic Expectations Realized
Jesus was incredibly dear to the women who followed him during his earthly ministry. They followed him, served him, listened to his teaching, worshipped him and deeply loved him. He was captivating to them. He was the one who loved and respected them in a culture where they were not valued; he forgave them in a society that was often merciless.
Imagine, then, their grief on the Sunday morning following his death. He had died on Friday, and Joseph of Arimathea had placed him in a tomb. They rested on Saturday, the Sabbath, but on Sunday morning they planned to hurry to the grave to care for the body of Jesus. The women wanted to anoint him with spices and perfumes.
We don’t handle death in this intimate way in our culture. When my loved ones died, the funeral home took care of the bodies, and my last view of their faces was when I passed by the caskets. But these women were going to do that work themselves.
I know what it’s like just two mornings after someone dies. You wake up, and, for a moment, you forget the reality. Then it comes back as a crushing weight. These women would have felt that way. Yet, their love for Jesus compelled them to get up early and head to his grave. In fact, they went as early on the morning after the Sabbath as they could possibly go – “deep daybreak” is what the Greek says. Of course they did. Where else would they go? His body was precious to them. Yes, they loved him. But…it was a hopeless love. They expected to find him there, and they expected to care for him the way they had cared for all the dead before him. Yes, their expectations were very realistic.
Jesus had other plans. They got to the tomb, and, to their surprise, the stone had been rolled away. Still perplexed, they were suddenly encountered by two terrifying angels who said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen.” (Lk. 24:5-6)
He has risen. The three most glorious words in the English language. He has risen. Talk about unrealistic expectations! Resurrection was as impossible and crazy then as it is now. But it was true. The angels reminded the women that Jesus had said that he would rise from the dead, and they remembered… and they believed. Every word he had spoken had been true; every promise was going to be fulfilled. All at once, their hopeless love was turned to hopeful love.
The implications of this wonderful news were immense. This meant that the time and devotion they had given to Jesus were not wasted. It meant he really was the Son of God. (Rom. 1:4) Unlike every other person in their lives, he had not let them down in any way. It meant that the value he had placed on them by including them in his inner circle was the final word on the subject, no matter what the culture might say. The same is true for you today: You are loved and respected by Christ.
The resurrection meant that the forgiveness he had offered to these very real sinners, who desperately needed it, was real and lasting, no matter how society treated them. The same is true for you today: You have received mercy from Christ, and you always will.
Best of all, it meant that one day, Jesus would return and resurrect the bodies of these same women from the dead. For all eternity, they will belong to Jesus. Never again will they have to feel the grief of separation. Forever they will have the joy of his intimate presence. The same is true for you today: You will see his face, and you will never have to leave.
If Jesus spoke it, you cannot have unrealistic expectations of your precious Savior. Every word really is true and will come to pass for you.