Rev. Tim Burton, Pastor, Dianella Church of the Nazarene, Perth, WA, Australia
Text: Matthew 20: 17 – 19
We have gathered at this place, at this time, because we anticipate something: the rising of the sun. It is an occasion that has tremendous impact on our world. Darkness fades, shadows slip away, and a new burst of light and warmth comes to our world. We can anticipate it because it takes place day after day. The twentieth-century hymn writer declared, “Morning has broken”, and with it, the birdsong as a reminder of the celebration life. You feel like you are living in darkness? Anticipate – be excited, for the coming gift of light and life. The rising of the sun is a daily reminder of the greatest event to ever occur on this earth!!! The One most involved, anticipated that too.
The First Easter
The crucifixion of Jesus gave the Hebrew Passover – their Easter season – new meaning. The disciples who witnessed the death of Jesus did not do so with anticipation of anything more. They watched a death and thought it was ‘the end.’
What Jesus had declared about His death and resurrection had not been understood. (How many disciples were queuing up at the Tomb to see Christ rise?)
The disciples missed the blessing that comes with anticipation of a God at work in
and through all circumstances. The life of faith is thrilling when it is based on the
promises of God.
Do we miss that blessing too?
Our Modern Easter
What is the modern anticipation of the Easter Celebration? Chocolates, holiday time off…
and yet the ability to eat chocolate, or take a vacation is always with us.
What really makes Easter special? What can really be anticipated?
It is in the unique story of a Crucifixion being followed by an Empty tomb. It is in realising again that God is a God of miracles and life.
That gift of life is ours to receive, and its twin imparting is to be both abundant (John 10:10) and eternal (John 3: 16).
The whole event of Easter was anticipated. Right from the Fall – His birth, declarations, gifts and prophecies, pointed to a Suffering Saviour. It was anticipated by the cry of John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1: 29). To do that, the Lamb dies (Exodus 12: 21). Right through the earthly ministry of Jesus, anticipation was in the air. People asked, “Is this the one?” “Could He be the Messiah, the one promised from God?”
How many of us live with a dynamic sense of anticipation of God coming to us this Easter day; how about every day?
Do we anticipate a sense of purpose about moments and places we find ourselves?
Do we anticipate even the promised return of Christ Jesus to this world?
God has given the gift of Life, displayed in the resurrection, and He asks us to live it! Real life, really living! The spirit of anticipation is one way to reflect this gift. Just as the sun rises upon our faces, so let God’s love shine into your heart with a real purpose to reveal to others in this world. Anticipate that!