Who got a chocolate egg this morning? (hands up) Did it taste good?
So I got this really beautiful egg. Look at this, isn’t it just the loveliest egg you every saw?
This is such a beautiful Egg, and there’s lots of symbolism in eggs - which is why we give them on Easter Day
Oh no! Oh no … I smashed it all …
Easter is meant to surprise you.
Think what it was like for those first disciples - going to take flowers to Jesus’ grave, finding that he’s not there, and then meeting him - alive again. Just imagine the shock.
So neither egg smashing, nor any of the April Fools your family may have already inflicted on you, can get close to the shocking surprise of Easter.
Why? Because contained within the shock of a dead man coming alive are three life changing, shocking truths. Truths that changed the lives of those disciples, and which have the power to change our lives here today.
Here’s the first.
Easter Day means that we are loved.
It means that the Universe isn’t a vast empty space, ruled over by the blind, indifferent forces of nature; it means that we’re not just a bundle of DNA that happened to come together into these bodies, on a rock that we call earth, floating somewhere in the Milky Way; it means that the survival of the fittest doesn’t have the final say in defining who we are, or how we relate, or our final destiny.
Resurrection means that at the heart of everything is love - a fierce, intimate, passionate love that is involved enough to come and live among us, and to die for us. Resurrection means that God is right here with us in the middle of the beauty and the pain of life and that he will never, ever abandon us.
Easter Day means that he loves you.
And that, if you let yourself believe it - I mean really believe it - is deeply, gloriously, shocking; at the centre of everything is the God who knows you, who is with you and who loves you.
It’s a truth that might just change your life.
Easter Day is God saying - I love you. Be really, deeply surprised. Know it’s true.
Here’s the second shocking, life changing truth of Resurrection day.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that we’re forgiven.
Our deepest need is to be known and completely loved. I mean ‘known’ beneath the all masks that we wear - beneath the ‘how are you?/I’m fine’ level. Including all the good things about us, and all that messy, complicated stuff that lies beneath the surface; known in a way that includes that thing we once did which we are so ashamed of and think we will never, ever be redeemed from; includes that thing we still do, every week or every day, and which we despise ourselves for; includes that feeling of envy or lust, or hatred that rises up inside us sometimes and which we wish would go away, but which keeps on coming back.
We long to be known - but there’s so much that we can’t possibly let anyone see - not even those we love most. And so we live with a constant sense that things aren’t whole - that the face we put on isn’t the whole truth; but that if anyone knew the whole truth, we’d be finished.
On Easter day hear Jesus say - I see you; I know you. All the good in you, and all the mess. Honestly, I carried all that stuff on the cross and I know - better even than you do - how heavy it is, and I know what the consequences should be. But I have taken it all for you so that you can be free.
Easter Day is God saying - I know you - every bit of you - and I forgive you. Be really, deeply surprised. Know it’s true.
And one more shocking, life changing truth of Resurrection Day.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that the end, is never the end.
Jesus’ resurrection is a promise that all those situations in our lives which have THE END written after them - the hopes that we have nurtured and which have come to nothing; that relationship which fell apart so painfully; that healing we were longing for, but which hasn’t happened - these may be an ending, but they are not the End. Resurrection means that the forces of the world that ‘end’ things are themselves ended - the forces of evil, darkness; the forces of hopelessness and apathy; even the forces of death.
Because Jesus rose from the dead, every ending offers the chance of a new beginning - even death itself, as the gates of heaven are thrown open by Jesus who has conquered death itself.
Easter Day is God saying - there is no ending in your life, that does not have a next day, a resurrection day, after it.
Be really, deeply surprised. … and know it’s the truth.
You are loved
You are forgiven
The end is not The End.
Deeply Surprising; Entirely life changing; Totally true.
What does Easter mean to you? What does resurrection mean to you?
Which of the three ‘Easter surprises’ is most important to you?
Are there any other ‘Easter surprises’ that matter to you?