Dear Grace of Christ Family,
In the Ancient world there were great expectations for the coming Messiah. And when the Messiah, Jesus Christ, came into this world, there were great expectations for Him to overthrow the Roman Government. The people believed Jesus was going to set them free from their oppressors. However, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, it was not what they had expected to see. They expected to see Jesus riding on a mighty warhorse. Still, they picked-up palm branches and shouted their “Hosannas!”. They were still fully expecting Jesus to conquer the enemy and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. As Jesus was eventually arrested, tortured, beaten and crucified, the “Hosannas” and expectations of many in the crowd began to fade away, as the crowd began to dwindle. Some of the disciples ran away in the dark of night, fearing that they might be identified as a follower of Christ. Peter denied Christ, and Judas could no longer bear his guilt. As Jesus hung on the cross, darkness filled the earth. Those who knew Jesus had forgotten the promise of His resurrection. All hope was gone.
Fortunately, for those who were most intimate with Jesus, there were still great expectations. All hope was not destroyed. That hope came alive on that first Easter morning when Jesus rose from the dead. The news began to echo throughout the hills and valleys: “HE IS RISEN!” When Peter and John heard the words of the women who had seen the Risen Lord, they raced to the empty tomb. They in turn brought back the Good News: Jesus is not dead. HE IS ALIVE! The hearts of the disciples began to be filled once again with great expectations. Hope was beginning to be restored. Perhaps now the Kingdom of God would be established on earth.
How devastating it must have been 40 days later as they then watched Jesus ascend to Heaven. Once again, they were alone. Jesus had left them. They watched Him disappear into the clouds, standing and waiting perhaps for Him to return, as He promised. Soon they would receive the Holy Spirit, and they would be given new hope and greater expectations as they proclaimed the Good News to the ends of the earth.
Today, we still wait with great expectations for the return of Christ. However, God also has great expectations for us, His Church. We are to go throughout the world, proclaiming freedom for the captive, offering living water to those who thirst, and inviting others to come to the light of Christ. As we draw closer to Easter Sunday, let us keep looking to the fields, for they are ripe unto harvest. Let us invite someone to join in the “festive procession” as we gather together on Sunday mornings.
Because of the Grace of Christ,