Surprised? Really!

walking along shoreby Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International

I don’t know how you feel, but when I read about what happened after Jesus was crucified and buried, I recognize a lot of strong, negative emotions.  One of these is surprise.  Like any conscientious mom, I wish I could have pointed out to Jesus’ followers, “You weren’t listening, were you?  Wake up and smell the coffee!”

It’s not like Jesus didn’t tell them what was going to happen.  He did.  If you don’t believe me, check it out in each of the Gospel accounts. (Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 8:31; Luke 18:31-34; John 11:25-27)  Still, they just didn’t get it.  You can explain this, in part, because of the grief they were experiencing, the fear, and the remorse.  Of course, it’s easy for us, from our vantage point to criticize.  Yet, I wonder, isn’t it possible that we would react much the same way as they did, if we were in their place?

So, I’d like to suggest we read the passages that deal with the forty days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, and put ourselves in their sandals.  One thing is certain, we can be very grateful that Jesus hung around, as it were, until Pentecost to put to rest the lies that were floating about in Jerusalem, creating urban legends and general confusion in people’s minds.

Here’s the plan.  Between today and next Tuesday, gather your family together with your Bibles and read out loud the accounts given in each of the Gospels and Acts.  Here are the references:  Matthew 27:62 to 28:20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1 to 21:25 and Acts 1:1-11.

Take turns reading without stopping, much as you would if you were reading a novel out loud and together.  Spend some time sharing with each other what your thoughts and feelings are.  What character in the story are you most drawn to?  Start a family journal in which you can record your journey as it unfolds in the weeks to come.

This is what I’ll do.  Every Tuesday, God willing, between next week and the week before Pentecost Sunday, I’ll send some ideas for interaction and understanding from reading one part of the forty day account.  Consider it a journey, if you will, walking with Jesus’ followers as they encounter the Savior in locked rooms, along dusty paths and sandy seashores and on mountain sides.

This will come as no surprise – the resurrection will take on new and deeper meaning in your lives as individuals and as a family.  I know I’m looking forward to this journey and the ways the Father will show how much He loves me – loves us – as He leads us into a deeper understanding of our Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf.

P.S. (Forgive me if this sounds like a guilt trip.) If your reaction to my suggestion above is, “We can’t possibly find time to do this as a family…”  please tell me how many hours each week you watch TV, entertain yourselves in other ways (games, hobbies, sports etc.) and then tell me again you don’t have time! (<;

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