Gomer Pyle made an art form out of “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.” You can still find recordings available on YouTube. It was something of a trademark for the lovable auto mechanic on the The Andy Griffith Show. It always accompanied the unexpected…of course…because that’s what a surprise is…something unexpected.
Stepping into the Blue Devil’s or Raiders’ gym and finding Michael Jordan on the court or stepping up to play tennis at Reservoir Park and seeing Serena Williams waiting to play both pale in comparison to the shock the three women found when they arrived at the tomb of Jesus that Sunday morning. You can almost hear Gomer’s voice in the background.
These women didn’t expect to find Jesus missing from the grave. They fully intended to somehow get that stone moved somehow so they could honor Him by anointing His body with spices. They went there to perform an act of deep worship, and show deep appreciation for their now departed friend, Jesus. Instead, they found the tomb empty and a man telling them that Jesus had risen.
Nothing of any more significance occurs in the New Testament. Nearly every major idea is somehow tied to resurrection. It undergirds the story of redemption and provides the evidence that God is powerful enough to accomplish anything we need. It’s the resurrection that gives evidence that Jesus really is who the Bible says.
You can’t short change the surprise these women discovered. And you can’t underestimate the value of what they heard from the young man. “He is not here…he is risen.” For centuries the followers of Jesus have announced, “He is risen!” and the respondents have replied, “He is risen, indeed.