“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him, but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:19-21).
“Well, what did you expect?” The question was aimed at a disappointed youngster on an Easter morning. The blank look and the shrugged shoulders said, “I don’t know.” But what he really wanted to say was: “I expected more!” I know what the boy was thinking because I’m the one who was asked that question a while ago—well, maybe more than a while ago.
Christmas had made quite an impression: the decorations, the cookies, and the presents—lots of presents. Easter had a similar buildup: a special meal was planned, extra church services held, holiday cards exchanged—and my sister had said there would be a surprise on Easter morning. Some surprise. Some hardboiled eggs, a chocolate bunny, and a handful of jellybeans! I expected more from Easter. I wasn’t the only one.
On Easter evening, two followers of Jesus were walking the road to Emmaus, talking about the unexpected events of the day. When Jesus joined them, unrecognized, they revealed their disappointment.
Actually, they were disappointed in him. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people,” they explained to this “stranger.” Then, referring to the authorities, they reported: “they crucified him… “ What a letdown!
This they did not expect. Instead, they said, “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:19-21). But he did! He did pay the ransom for the fallen human race! What more could they want? They wanted him to redeem Israel in the way they were expecting him to do it. Their expectations for Easter were far different than God’s expectations.
But how common.
And how current!
The disappointed youngster who grew up still needs to guard against being disappointed in God’s plans. His expectations still often run down a different path from those of his heavenly Father.
On some days, he expects life to be easier than it often is: less stress, more money—and no deadly virus.
On other days, he is surprised that problems have been solved; threats averted, and fears deflated—through none of his doing.
He is learning not to second-guess how his God is going to work all things out for his good.
He is learning to take a very hard look at what the first Easter means for him and those he loves.
He is learning to expect much more from the Lord God than he could ever dream of.
He is waiting to talk with those two fellows from Emmaus.
He is expecting to do that on a perfect Easter-like day.
We pray: Lord Jesus, your resurrection from the dead has proven that we will live forever. Keep the vision of Easter before our spiritual eyes that we may always cling to the certainty of Life Eternal when the day of our death comes. “Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto thee.” Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
Previously published WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military