When the Unexpected Happens

by J. Randal Matheny, editor


Unexpected things always happen. Life itself is a series of surprises, good and bad. The unexpected brings us both the trivial and earth-shaking. Be it a flat tire at an inconvenient moment or a terminal illness, we can’t and don’t anticipate today’s events.

The disciples were shattered when Jesus was arrested and crucified. They scattered, they ran, they hid, they followed from afar. All had one question in mind: “How could this happen?” After all, he was the Messiah-to-be, the one who would put all things right. And things went so wrong!

But the death of Christ should not have caught them unawares. Time and again he told them he would go to Jerusalem and die. And be raised from the dead. With their preconceived ideas and their own agenda, they discounted his warnings. His words were unintelligible, nonsensical, forgettable.

And then the unexpected happened.

With their world in pieces, some gravitated back to what they did before Jesus called them. Peter went fishing. But there was no return for some like Levi, where another was sitting in his tax office.

And then the unexpected happened again.

Jesus rose from the dead.

The heavenly messengers reminded them. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise” (Luke 24:5-7 ESV).

Around the Table of the Lord, we listen again to the risen Son of Man who tells his disciples that he will come again. Our eating and drinking signals our hope in his return.

And because we eat the bread and drink the cup, his manifestation will not catch us unawares. We live for him and speak the Good News to all. We may not know the day and hour, but we know the fact of his coming.

No more angels will remind us what he said. They will trumpet his return, but there will be no more chiding. Only judgment.

So today we rejoice that, in spite of our daily surprises, good and bad, large and small, for us the Unexpected will not happen again. For ours is hope in the Awaited One.

2 Replies to “When the Unexpected Happens”

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