THE EASTER SURPRISE
By Steve Bietz
Supper was on the table but nobody reached for a fork to take a bite. Why not? No time…not with the news that had just come to light. Yes they were weary and yes they were hungry, but because of what they had just discovered, their tiredness and hunger vanished. And the two of them jump up from the supper table and immediately begin running, in the dark, all the way back to Jerusalem. When they arrived at their destination, no amount of knocking would bring anyone to the door which was locked tight. Finally, they gave their names and gained entrance. The followers of the Teacher who had been executed on Friday were assembled behind bolted doors. The Bible informs us that these followers of Jesus were not gathered together to have a worship service, no sir! They were gathered out of fear. They were afraid that what the Jewish leaders had done to their teacher Jesus, would now come and do to them. At any moment they expected to be arrested.
The two men who had just run all the way back to Jerusalem from Emmaus, are let in the partially opened door but no one noticed that a third individual came in at the same time. The two men from Emmaus could not get their news out fast enough. He Is Risen From The Grave!! Those assembled are blown away by their story. Suddenly, the individual who had slipped in the door unnoticed with the two from Emmaus turns off His invisibility button or whatever it is that allows Him to be seen with mere mortal eyes. Jesus speaks and says Shalom, my friends. What happens next we find recorded in Luke 24:36,37. “Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, Peace to you. But they were terrified and frightened and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” It is pure shock and awe. The disciples had secluded themselves behind bolted doors because they were expecting to get arrested. They had been intimate companions of the one who had been executed for sedition. The room was tense. Now they hear the unbelievable report that Jesus is alive. Apparently, they are completely unprepared for a personal encounter with the risen Christ. After all, He had not knocked on the door. One moment He was not in the room and then there He was. And what is the response of those present? It’s a ghost!! Run for your lives! That is the welcome Jesus gets from His friends. Stunning! Jesus quickly says please don’t run, instead, put your hands on me. I am real, it is I, Jesus. Then it is that Christ asks an extremely provocative question. We see it in Luke 24:38. “Why are you troubled?”
Let’s look at three passages in the scriptures and we may begin to understand Christ’s question, “Why are you troubled?” In Mark 8:31 we read “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” And then in Mark 9:31, we read “For He taught His disciples and said to them, The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed,
He will rise the third day.” And again in Mark 10:34 we find these words, “and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” Again and again and again and who knows how many agains, did Jesus tell His disciples that He would rise from the grave on the third day. And there the disciples are in the upper room when Jesus turns off His invisible
button and what do the disciples do. They go completely nuts! He is a ghost run for your lives! And Jesus asks, why are you going berserk? Why are you troubled? I told you and I told you and I told you again and again and again that you would see me on the third day after I was executed and this is how you greet me? Now if those followers of Jesus, if they would have been honest, could only have replied with one answer. We went nuts because we did not believe you. Jesus had been very specific and did not say I will come back to life someday or I will rise soon. Jesus said I will rise on the third day.
To so many today, Jesus is not real, just a ghost. Just a figment of the imagination of those crazy Christians. We each must handle Jesus for ourselves, or He will never be real. And how do we handle Christ? We handle Christ thru the Word. Why are you troubled? Well, honestly we did not believe your Word. Now yes, we live in a world that is in trouble. Yet Jesus makes it very clear that if we will believe and follow His Word, the Bible, then although we live in a world of trouble, we will not have troubled hearts. Jesus gave His word that He would rise the third day, yet when He did, His followers went nuts and were sure they had seen a ghost. It was an Easter Surprise that did not need to be a surprise. You and I can handle Jesus in His Holy Word and even though we are surrounded by trouble, we will not be troubled. After all, Jesus said in John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled.” I will let you read the rest so that you can handle Jesus yourself. That way you will not be surprised or troubled.
Blue Ridge Christian News covers Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Madison County, in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.