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Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

God of the Unexpected - April 1, 2018

Luke 24:1-12

Easter gives us an upending of the expected, the logical, and the necessary. Everything says that death is final. There is no coming back. And, logically, that makes sense to us. No heart beat, no oxygen equals no life. It's predictable. It's reliable. It's a sure thing. It's why we hate to stop treatment. It's why we can't bear to take someone off life support—because when life stops, it ends. And

there's no turning back. Death means dead. Period.
Until one day when it didn't. It was three days after Jesus was nailed to the cross and laid in a tomb. It had been three days sine he had shared a meal, or offered a smile or an encouraging word. Three days since they had asked him a question or seen if he might heal just one more person. It had been 3 days and everyone knew that after 3 days you were dead dead and there was no coming back. No chance of hope or fog of denial. Just one reality: death means dead and that's it.
So when the women—Mary and Mary and Joanna and the others go with their spices and find the stone rolled away and no body—they're surprised—not believing for an instant that he's alive, but instead dismayed that his body had been stolen—yet another insult against him. They wouldn't let him live in peace and now they wouldn't even let him be dead in peace.
And then there appeared 2 men who declared the impossible—the ridiculous—the absurd—
• why are you looking for the living ONE among the dead ones?
• Umm...we're not. We're looking for the dead one among the dead ones....
• But he's not here. He's alive.
• Ummm...no...he's dead. We watched him die. It was awful. And that was three days ago. He's definitely dead today.
• No, he's alive.
• yeah...no...
• You may not take our word for it—but you trust Jesus right?
• yeah, when he was alive....
• Ok, well, he told you, way back when you were in Galilee, that the Son of man would die and on the third day he would rise again. Do you remember that?
• yeah....mostly...
• And you said you trust him?
• yeah....
• and you said it's been three days since he died?
• yeah...
• and he said on the third day the Son of Man would rise again?
• yeah...?
• Yeah! So he's not here. He's the Son of Man! He's alive!!!!!!

And while it all seemed incomprehensible and unimaginable—they had trusted Jesus and it was the third day, so they took the news back to the guys. And the guys happened to think it sounded like "an idle tale". That's a euphemism for "crazy". In reality—they thought the women were blistering idiots, out of their minds—delirious. That's not my interpretation. I'm not just trying to make the story more interesteing. That's the real translation in Greek....delirious. The Greek word is leros and it's a cousin for our word delirious—crazy, out of your mind—that's what the disciples thought. The women were delirious.
But really...who wouldn't?! Three days dead and now out of nowhere he's mysterious alive? C'mon! It just doesn't happen. And yet, (pause) somehow it did. We believe it actually happened. Ok, so let's be honest, some of us believe it actually happened. And some of us were dragged here by someone who believes it actually happened. And some of us are on the fence, kind of curious, wondering if maybe it could have actually happened and we're here to find out. I probably can't fully convince you today, I'll let God work on that part, but for now—we're gonna go with it actually happened. Truthfully, we have all kinds of reasons to believe in the actual resurrection—not just a missing body and 2 men in dazzling clothes but personal accounts—the specifics we'll learn in the new few weeks, but disciples, men and women, Jews and Greeks—saw, touched, heard and ate with the risen Jesus. An actually resurrected from the dead Jesus.
Which then takes us to the question—ok, so what difference does it make? Believer. Semi believer. Doubter. Wanna-be believer....we all end up at the same question...if it did actually happen, what difference does it make?
Well, let's start with the fact that God did the impossible—the unthinkable—-God changed the equation. It used to be death equals dead. And yet now, somehow, for Christ, or through him, death did not equal dead. Death was transformed into life. And what we gain from Jesus being God and his work here on earth is that what is true for him becomes true for us. Jesus being raised from the dead is not God saying, "Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm so powerful I can change the equation. I didn't let death win with this guy. But too bad for the rest of you suckers!!!!" No!!! Where God gives life to Jesus, God also gives life THROUGH Jesus. He becomes the conduit for the impossible and unexpected. Death no longer simply equals dead. Death now equals new life.
And from there we find roads to 100s of other unexpected things God does and ways God acts. The model everyone knew before was all about balance. Like for like. A for A. B for B. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. A life for a life. Death for death. Right? There's balance, order, and predictability there. But the resurrection challenges all of that—after all, if the most predictable thing in life, aside from taxes, can be flipped on it's head and declared not so, then couldn't everything else be overturned too? Couldn't the rules and order of the way things are and the way things have to be be changed by the power of God?
• Such that losing your career of 20 years doesn't mean the end of everything.
• A diagnosis of cancer doesn't mean you pull up the covers and wait for death.
• The loss of a loved one doesn't have to mean fear for the future.
• Getting relocated to a new place where you know no one doesn't have to be an ending, it can be a new beginning.
• A life of addiction doesn't have to keep you bound up, instead you can find hope, recovery and healing.
• An incurable diagnosis doesn't have to mean a miserable life sentence.
The things that try and take us—the ones that consume us and break us and push us to the ground don't get to have the final word. After all if death doesn't get the final word then why should despair, desperation, loneliness, grief, rejection, or betrayal? They aren't more powerful than death, are they? They feel like death. Don't get me wrong. They play dirty and they put on a good show, but death is most powerful. Death is invincible....only now, it isn't any longer because death no longer equals dead. Death now brings new life. And that's a game changer.
Everything can be different, everything and everyone can be transformed, redeemed, made new, given a second change, a new beginning, a chance at healing all because God changed the equation and shifted the balance of everything. The rules that we thought ruled over us have been broken. And with the broken rules comes hope, possibility, freedom to try new things, opportunities for forgiveness and healing.

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