2012-04-04 / Church

Today’s Meditation

From The Upper Room
The World’s Most Widely Read Daily Devotional Guide

Read Matthew 28:1-10

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen.”

- Matthew 28:5-6 (NIV)

The one consistent element in the gospel accounts of that first Easter morning is that everyone was surprised. No one expected an empty tomb, much less the presence of the risen Christ. The women who came to the tomb had good reason to be surprised. They had watched Jesus die. They had seen his bloody, lifeless body taken off the cross. They had followed Joseph to the tomb. They had heard the heavy thud of the stone that was rolled in front of the opening. They knew Jesus was dead.

The only way to feel the surprise of resurrection is to face the reality of death. The only way to be prepared for Easter morning is to experience the emotion and events of Holy Week.

As a pastor, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to encourage people to be in worship on Easter Sunday. But each year I find myself doing everything I can to encourage people to be here on Maundy Thursday when we join Jesus and his disciples for the Last Supper and Good Friday when we experience the darkness that fell over the earth when Jesus died. Once we have followed the way that leads to the cross, we can better experience the surprise of Easter morning.

James A. Harnish

(Florida, USA)

Thought for the Day: How am I following the way that leads to the cross?

Prayer: O God, thank you for the glorious surprise of Easter. Thank you for the love we see in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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