News no one expected

Posted Apr 18, 2022

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Daily Scripture

MONDAY 4.18.22

Dear GPS readers,
We have been grateful for your positive response to the "40 Days of Transformation" videos we shared during Lent. We have registered your appreciative comments, and there will be similar projects in the future. We do not currently have the resources to produce daily videos for the whole year, but stay tuned—there is more to come!

Luke 24:1-12

1 Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. 5 The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Human One [or Son of Man] must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women. 12 But Peter ran to the tomb. When he bent over to look inside, he saw only the linen cloth. Then he returned home, wondering what had happened.

Reflection Questions

“Early in the morning on the first day of the week” the loyal women went back to where Jesus' body was laid (Luke 23:55). They went to get his dead body ready for lasting burial, but found no body. Two men in gleaming clothes asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised.” The women shared that, but “their words struck the apostles as nonsense” (true to form for that day). No one expected the Easter event, though Jesus had foretold it (cf. Luke 9:22).

  • When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus’ body was wrapped in typical grave cloths. “Jesus said to them, ‘Untie him’” (John 11:44). As Peter peered into Jesus' empty tomb, “he saw only the linen cloth.” Grave robbers would never have taken time to unwrap the body and leave the cloth. One sign that Jesus’ resurrection was qualitatively unique was that no one had to untie him. That resurrection changed everything for Peter. What effect has it had on you?
  • Author Phillip Yancey said how the gospels’ told of the resurrection rang true: “Accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb sound breathless and fragmentary….the early reports seem wispy, mysterious, confused. Surely conspirators could have done a neater job of depicting what they would later claim to be the hinge event of history.” * What made the gospel stories’ reliability vital to the apostles’ faith (and to yours) (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14-19)?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, there was nothing predictable about that stunning, world-changing day when, against all odds, you rose from the dead. Help me take in, and live out, all the ways that day changed everything about how I see the world. Amen.


* Phillip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995, p. 212.)

Music

Click here or on the image below for a classical musical offering from Resurrection to incorporate into your post-Easter worship.

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Ashley Morgan-Kirk

Ashley Morgan-Kirk

Ashley serves as the Online Connection and Care Pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. After seven years of higher ed in religion, she finally understands that she can't figure out God (no matter how hard she tries). She’s leaning into the challenge to move from a thinking-based faith to loving God with both her head and heart.

No one expected that. Talk about a plot twist.

I can relate to the women at the tomb. Sadly, they didn't go there with any hope. They went there within their grief. I've been there; I wonder if you have too. They even got there so early that it was barely even day. Clearly they had gotten up and prepared to go within the darkness. I've been there--up before dawn, unable to sleep; I wonder if you have too. The women spent much of the day before preparing spices and ointments, likely in deep grief. I've been there as well--just wanting to do something for someone who has lost someone, or even busying myself with things to avoid the pain of grief when I've lost someone. I wonder if you have too. I can imagine that the women just wanted to do something--they wanted to honor Jesus. But how is it that I know they didn't go to Jesus' grave with any hope? It's because the spices and ointments they prepared were not for a body that was alive, but for a body that was dead. They didn't expect anything to have happened. I've been there; I wonder if you have too. These women expected to face the reality of their unfathomable loss again. What came next, no one expected.

The women--Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, & other unnamed women with them--arrived at Jesus' re-opened grave with his body missing. They didn't know what to make of this. In another translation, it says "they were perplexed." I've been there; I wonder if you have too. Two male angels told them: remember. The angels said "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you...Then [the women] remembered [Jesus'] words. When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others."

There are just some things that even while we don't know what to make of them and are perplexed by them, we seem to have a deeper knowing, perhaps even a remembrance, that they are true. I've been there; I wonder if you have too. On this first day right after Easter, I desire to be like these women. I desire to remember Jesus' words, and to speak about them to others. For it is by the sharing of "Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things" that I even know this story. So I will join in remembering and retelling it as well, and perhaps I will be a woman who tells the story and gets to witness Jesus change everything for someone else.

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