by Christopher Harbin

Unexpected News
Christopher Harbin
Matthew 28:1-10

We like to know what is happening. We like to know what to expect. We do not often like surprises, even when the surprises are good ones. Surprises are unnerving. They interfere with life as we know it to be. They force us to reassess our understanding of the world and how it works. When what we picture happening is not what occurs, it can be difficult to process. It can be difficult to begin the hard process of making sense of the world once again. When the unexpected comes, we don't know how we will respond to it.

It had been a long weekend. Jesus had been arrested by a mob, then dragged to an illegal court in the middle of the night. He had been turned over to Pilate, sent to Herod, and returned to Pilate. He had been questioned with a whip, beaten by soldiers, and flogged within an inch of his life. He had been marched to Golgotha, carrying a sign proclaiming the charges against him. He was crucified, mocked, pierced with a sword, and declared dead. As the sun was rapidly setting, his body was quickly placed in a tomb with no time to prepare it for proper burial before the Sabbath. Guards had been posted at his tomb, presiding over the ultimate declaration of the loss and despair of Jesus' followers. Their dreams and expectations of a future with Jesus as Messiah had been shattered to pieces. They went into hiding out of fear that those who had orchestrated Jesus' death would come after them, as well.

This whirlwind of events was doubtless on the minds of the women making their way to the tomb that Sunday morning. They came to prepare Jesus' body after the incomplete burial which had been rushed. How they would get access to his body was a question that was still up in the air, as the tomb had been sealed and a guard posted. Likely, they would simply plead with the guards to allow them to care for Jesus' body, giving it their final rites of anointing with spices as a final act of love.

What they ...

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