This unexpected Easter

9 Apr 2020

This unexpected Easter

Expectations are funny things.  Quite often, our challenges arise because there’s a gap between what we expect from life, relationships, work, our family, ourselves – and our reality.  That gap is unexpected.

It’s often unexpected because we like to believe we’re in control – or at least we thought we were.  But every now and then, we are reminded that we’re not.

2020: Drought. Bushfire. Covid19. Life has changed from the expected to the unexpected.

Remote learning is not what any parent or teacher expected. But can we learn from the unexpected?

As an example, Jesus wasn’t the Messiah the Jews expected back in the first century. This Easter, during the most unexpected period most of us have ever experienced, perhaps we can draw comfort from Jesus’ very own unexpectedness.

Back in the day, God’s people in the Old Testament had their own set of expectations. They knew God had promised them a Saviour. There were many prophecies about this deliverer who would come, sent by God, to redeem and rescue His people.

Expectation can be brilliant if what you’re hoping for turns up exactly as you hope; but when it turns up and it’s different – that’s when the trouble starts.

Jesus wasn’t what Israel had hoped for. He was different. Hugely different. They expected a military-style leader who would inspire a nation to rise up against the might of the Roman Empire and lead Israel into a time of unprecedented glory.

But Jesus had a larger target.  Jesus was here to take on (and defeat) the brokenness of the world and restore people’s relationship with God in heaven.  Israel expected to understand their Saviour – their military Saviour – and instead they got someone who seemed to delight in confounding their expectations.

He wasn’t traditional. He didn’t fit their pre-conceived expectations. He didn’t seem to be all that keen on resting on the Sabbath like any good Jew should – in fact, Jesus kept doing miracles on Saturdays almost like he was going out of his way to make a point. Blind people saw again, lame people walked again, deaf people heard again, and dead people lived again.

No one saw that first Easter coming.  Except Jesus.  He knew exactly what He was here to do – and more than that – he achieved it.  But for everyone else at the time? It was totally unexpected.

Israel’s Messiah wasn’t supposed to be crucified. They expected a military leader but instead Jesus turned up as the suffering servant, someone who washed his disciples’ feet and who died the most humiliating of deaths, borne then by only the most criminal, lowest class. Totally unexpected.

Yet in his pure unexpectedness, Jesus went on to deliver God’s rescue plan to the world. So, this Easter, during the most unexpected period most of us have ever experienced, take a moment to reflect on the hope and comfort we can draw from Jesus’ own unexpectedness.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4: 14-16

For an additional Easter service, watch this address from Trinity Senior School Chaplain, Greg Webster.