A Surprise Along the Way (2012 Easter SONrise Service)

Title: A Surprise Along the Way
Series: Walking the Road of Easter (SONrise Service)
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12
Theme(s): Surprise, God’s provision, Purpose, Importance

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT
Let’s catch up in our story! Jesus, our Lord and leader of our group, has just been killed and buried. According to tradition some of the women have prepared the requisite spices and ointments to anoint His body. They cannot anoint His body right away because of the Sabbath. There can be no work on the Sabbath! So far, everything was continuing on as usual.

At first light, the women gather up all of their materials and make their way to the tomb. There is something very striking here about the women’s behavior. Normally the body would have been anointed right away to complete the burial process, but this time it was interrupted by the Sabbath. These women knew the responsibility and its purpose. But, they did not know how they were going to move the covering from the tomb. They did not know how they were going to complete their task, but they knew their duty. They knew how much Jesus had meant to them and this was one way for them to show Him and others that they loved Him. They could have sat at home and wished that they could have completed it. They could have waited a few days and called a committee of the elders together to work on the problem. They could have petitioned to the Romans to have the stone moved away. They could have hired the Jerusalem Rock and Digging Company, Inc. But, they didn’t. They started out. They only knew that it had to be done.

Sometimes, life feels this way. We have a difficult problem or choice before us. We can choose to move or stay. Like the women, we can choose to move in commitment and devotion, knowing that what we are doing is important. Or, we can sit at home and blame people. We can sit around and wait for someone else to take care of it. What is amazing about this story is that if the women had not walked out in faith, then they would have never witness the “surprise along the way.”

Our lives belong to God. He has made us and given us purpose. He has also given us the ability to choose whether we will move out in that purpose or not. How can we know the full measure of God’s care for us if we stay at home? I think this shows us that God delights in surprising His people. He said it was going to happen. He gave them examples along the way that it would happen. He told them over and over. Why wasn’t everyone waiting out in front of the tomb for Jesus to appear? They had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead. They had seen Him walk on water. He had healed the blind and cured the sick. Why didn’t they believe that Jesus might have one more “trick” up His sleeve?

We feel like that in life. We know all of the great things that Jesus has done for us. He continually tells us of His love and plans for us in His word. Yet, we are not waiting at His feet. Jesus uses these “surprises along the way” to remind us that He is still walking beside us. Whether it was a promotion at work or an unexpected gift from a friend, a kind note from a far away relative or the answer to the secret prayer of our hearts, God still cares for His people. He is not dead. He is not locked up in a tomb. He is waiting right around the next corner with a “surprise along the way.”

range (god.notes)

Range – A portion of the range of the instrument or voice.

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

According to Wikipedia: In music, the range of a musical instrument is the distance from the lowest to the highest pitch it can play. For a singing voice, the equivalent is vocal range. The range of a musical part is the distance between its lowest and highest note.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.–St. Augustine

There is only one you.  God broke the mold when He made you.  Even if you are a twin, there is still only one person totally like you.  There is only one person with all of your experiences, all of your memories, all of your quirks.  “God made you special, and He loves you very much!”  God created you for a special purpose, a special task, a special project.  He also gave your life limits.  You can only do so much!  You can only learn so much!  You can only meet so many people!  You will live a certain amount of time!  You can only text so many people!
God already knows the plans that He has for you.  He has good stuff for you.  We have a place in the great symphony of God’s creation.  Our lives were specially designed to fit a certain “register.”  Some people may rise higher than we do.  Some people may go lower than we do.  We were created to be the person that God wants us to be.  Who we can be in God has to be explored.  We need to push out and do as much as God has planned for us.  We need to discover what we were created for.  And, it all starts with, ends at, includes, depends on, survives because, lasts while, exists because, is fulfilled by God.
Questions to think about:
  • Have we completely discovered God’s purpose for our lives?
  • Have we thanked God for His loving creation of us?
  • Now, that we have talked about how special we are, is there something that we are doing that we need to stop doing to God’s special creation?
Prayer:
Dear God, thank You for me.  Thank You for everything that You have done for me.  Thank You for the plans of my life.  Thank You for my abilities and limitations. Amen.