Have you ever laid awake anticipating? At least as a child, you most likely had some sleepless nights called Christmas Eve when you could not sleep as you “anticipated,” though you may not have known the word, what the next morning would bring. As we get older, any anticipating is just wondering IF we can get up the next morning. Don’t laugh, you younger folks! Your day/night will come!
The disciples of the New Testament and other followers of Jesus did not have a Christmas Eve like we do. Though they may have anticipated the coming Messiah spoken of in the Jewish Scriptures and in words of prophecy, they did not have a calendar with a specific date on it. They did not cross off the days in anticipation of what Christmas morning would bring because Christmas had not yet arrived! However, after Jesus DID come, live, and teach among His disciples, He shared with them what would happen in those last days of His earthly life! He would be betrayed, arrested, subjected to harsh treatment, found guilty, and be put to death by crucifixion. Oh, by the way, “I will rise on the third day.”
Do you think there were any sleepless nights in Jerusalem after the crucifixion, anticipating that the tomb would be empty on that third day? By all accounts, no, at least not for that specific reason. The disciples seemed to have been completely surprised by the fact of an empty tomb on that morning. Yes, it was good news for sure; but even though Jesus had told them what to expect, they didn’t really expect it to be a reality until–they saw their Lord alive!
We live on the “up” side of the grave…Jesus got UP! Do we celebrate and live like that is fact or are we more given to live like it’s just “ok” that it happened? Do we live in acceptance or anticipation? Let me encourage you to do the latter; live in anticipation. That is, every time we gather we have the privilege to worship and praise a living Savior. We should do so “anticipating” what God might do in our presence and in our lives as we do so. Yes, His resurrection is fact; but remember He told us some other things that we need to anticipate and prepare for; like, He is coming again!
Oftentimes I am “sleepless in Chandler” as I anticipate the Sunday morning time we will gather for worship as the CPTC family. During this meaningful Easter season of remembering and celebrating, I encourage you to join the family for worship. Come anticipating and you just might be surprised at what you discover!
The Church isn’t a tomb! It shouldn’t be empty, especially on Easter!