“Expect the worst and hope for the best.” That sentence has two parts to it. 1.) The first part is that it’s a beneficial and positive thing to have negative expectations so that you’ll never be disappointed (you’ll just be negative). 2.) The second part is a wish…I hope something good will happen but I doubt it. That’s sort of negative too. Do you find yourself thinking that way more often than not? Weather prolly snow, politics gonna be a joke, my future prolly going to be terrible. With one praise, Easter changes negative expectations into positive reality.
Negative expectations. A group of women head to the tomb of their friend, teacher, Lord, Jesus who had been crucified. And what do they expect to find? A body that they need to prepare with spices (how will we handle looking at his body and not break down). A stone they don’t know how to roll away. Soldiers who by the way just crucified one of their own (what will they do to us). How can we handle all that?
That’s te mindset they head to the tomb with. You’ve heard the phrase when it rains it pours? When you start in a negative space (Jesus died) your mind spins to think about more and more negative things.
The ladies go into this expedition totally negative and when they arrive it gets worse. They see an empty tomb. What should they be thinking? Mary cries and thinks who stole his body? Maybe this gardener guy took him? After all who doesn’t just steal dead bodies for fun? This wasn’t logical for her to think but that’s how down she is. They start to think what will we tell the boys? Peter is going to flip!
Friends did you know at least three times Jesus told the disciples that he would die and rise again? How in the world can he give them that promise and they literally see an empty tomb and think the worst. They should have brought breakfast expecting him to be alive and eating with them but they were negative afraid and full of sinful doubt.
Knowing their doubts – God gives them this. “He is not here he is risen”. One phrase to bury their negativity and replace it with positive reality. He is risen he’s alive everything you thought was wrong. They remember what Jesus had said they run back with their report. They aren’t worrying about soldiers anymore, not worried about the stone, not worried about a stolen body and what would Peter think. He is Risen changes their reality and…their eternity because it takes doubt and fear away.
Negative expectations. Let’s go for a spin with the ladies walking to the tomb. How do your doubts cause negative spin. You have promises of God like they did. God promises to provide – promises to love – yet you still expect the worst.
You came to church today perhaps for the first time or the first time in a long time. Excited to hear God’s love at Easter. But then your mind wanders…what will people think of me? My clothes? Will they judge me? Why did your mind go negative on a day that promises so much good?
You want to love – want to build relationships and so you put yourself out there to share God’s love and suddenly voice in your head says maybe don’t do that. Don’t risk it – what if they hurt you? Why would love be surrounded by such fear?
Maybe life hit you real hard already this year you’ve seen loss grief even death so you’re like its been one thing after another prolly more bad to come you expect it.
Have you been in Mary’s shoes before? Staring at good blessings the tomb is empty but you can’t escape the feeling of dread and doubt. You see negative around every corner even when God wants you to see him? Where does that come from? Its sin. Sinful doubt that says there’s no way God could bless me I don’t deserve it. No way he could care about this world and me. God gives someone to love me…do they really? A job to provide for me…its not enough. Friends…they’ll betray me wow its exhausting to think that way. Sin is a mind captivating attitude that turns away from blessings of God and sees the worst in all.
So God sends a reframing message to change all that. He’s not here – he is risen! That one fact changes everything. Because Jesus lives our most negative experience grief and death is defeated and replaced with eternal life if the grave wont hold you what bad thing in life could. Jesus is risen means that God approved the payment Jesus made for our doubts aka God forgave them.
He is risen means that one day you too shall rise to heaven where you will never go through that negative spin again. No more mess ups no more loss no more worry. The devils wants to play a highlight real of your guilt and your sin so that you say well its always gonna be that way always gonna be messed up. He is risen changes that broken highlight real to positive reality that life and love with God is yours forever.
Let’s finish the resurrection story for a bit. “So the women hurried away from the tomb afraid yet filled with joy and ran to tell the disciples.”
His is risen causes such a change in these ladies. Now there’s no what if of the soldiers, what if the disciples don’t believe us no assuming negatives. They are just filled with joy and go to work. The risks are still real – bad stuff could still happen but how they view that bad stuff has been reframed and it has been for you too.
Friends Im not hear today to minimize your problems or ignore really bad things you’ve done or gone through. But he is risen changes how you deal. Changes your expectations and here is how.
Some of you here today this is the first Easter since you have lost a loved one and yet here you sit. Some of you literally to come to church on Easter you have to drive past the grave side of your loved one and stare at it. How can you do that? Not silver lining but he is risen reality where you stare at death and say I’ll see them again.
Some of you have been living with a lot of negativity. You see it on the news you see it in your jobs your relationships. He is Risen means while you are hurt you say Jesus beat even death so what can this world ultimately do to me.
Now the failures you expect to have Jesus beat them so they are opportunities to learn and rely on him. All great stuff right! But I’m sure that for these ladies their positive joyous mindset lasted about 3 verses. They went right back to fear and doubt because we all do.
You’re gonna leave Easter service today and until you get to heaven failure loss pain grief aren’t just expected they are certainties. So how can you have your resurrection reality while that goes on how can you have joy?
You take these songs that have the phrase in them and sing them in troubles face Christ the Lord is risen today.
You take the angels words and every time Satan brings negative expectation to you assault that with God’s positive resurrection reality.
In fact…why don’t we just try that right now? Did you mess up? Yep. Did you lose somebody yep? Hurting? Failing all yep. One solution say it with me He’s risen.
He’s risen indeed AMEN
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