When you look up the word passion in the dictionary, you will at some point come to the following definition: "the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death on the cross."

The whole driving force behind Good Friday (the commemoration of Jesus’ sacrificial and substitiutonary death on the cross) and ultimately His resurrection on Easter is that God is passionate about each one of us.

Jesus had told His followers of His pending death and resurrection. But even though they knew what was coming they did not fully understand and not expect Jesus to come back to life after being dead. (Read Luke 18: 31-33) The cross and death of Christ are only seen as good — the greatest good — looking back. For the first disciples, the death of Christ was the end, the loss of who and how every hope might find fulfillment. They did not know or understand that Christ was not finished personally when He said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30).

Those who knew this were still caught off guard. I have wondered many times how I would have reacted. Would I have believed Jesus statements about His death and resurrection? How about you? He told them, but they did not listen and we are all a little bit that way. We only seem to hear of the expected. We may dream and hope for something unexpected but if God tells us it is going to happen, we either doubt it or fear it. We think He might not do the things He has stated and recorded in the Bible for us. We think He might not do what He has said, or we are afraid that He might.

Isaiah had prophesied: “For the Lord shall rise up … that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass this act, His strange act. (Isaiah 28:21) This prophecy is a declaration on God’s unpredictability. The word “strange” doesn’t mean weird, it means unusual, or coming from an unexpected place.

The works of Isaiah referred to a time when God gave his people an amazing victory over their enemies. The unusual piece of this was that God gave them the victory for which they did not have to fight. Now that is unpredictable. Isaiah also spoke of the time that the sun stood still and that is just strange. But not as strange as a dead man rising. That is the strangest of strange and the most unpredictable even when predicted.

Easter is about an empty grave and a passionate Savior coming back to life after His horrible cross. Empty graves are in a class all their own. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us He is not bound by our expectations or limitations. His resurrection is not simply life beyond death but life beyond hope.

Jesus’ prediction of His own resurrection and Isaiah’s prophesy that Jesus would rise again in an unexpected and strange way are our confirmation that God is powerful and can do the unexpected. When your hope fades, life expectancy can rise up again.

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When darkness presses, in look for God and believe in His power to do the unexpected.

Today, Good Friday, is good news for you.

And Easter is the reminder of all that Jesus did on the cross was done perfectly. He desires to forgive you, deliver you into salvation and raise you up with Him.

Will you believe? Will you trust?

Happy Easter!

Bernie Federmann is the senior pastor of Lompoc Foursquare Church and chaplain for Lompoc police and fire departments. He can be reached through mylfc.com

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