It’s interesting to me that for many (if not most) U.S. Christians, the gospel amounts to either pie in the sky when you die, or some kind of ‘name it and claim it’ prosperity scheme. The thinking seems to be something along the lines of “when you find Jesus, you find yourself”.
I’ve got plenty of well-intentioned friends who might agree with that sentiment, and I can agree with it in some limited ways.
But I do take issue with how we define ‘self’, and how we define ‘gospel’ or even ‘Jesus’. I have no interest in a Jesus who’s role in my life is primarily therapeutic. Neither do I have interest in a gospel that primarily benefits my own personal goals and ambitions (however high they might be).
This week we’re looking at the resurrection on Sunday morning, as John tells the story in chapter 20 of his gospel. I always find it hardest to preach on the most familiar stories, but I think there’s something to how even the Greatest Expectations concerning Jesus (all throughout his life) were flipped on their heads by the end of the story. The Palm Sunday expectations…the Holy Week expectations, the Messianic expectations…all were fulfilled and all were re-defined in some important ways by the time we get to Easter morning.
Maybe that will preach. “Take your Greatest Expectations and flip them on their heads.” That’s the Easter Story. That’s the resurrection.