One of my favorite TV programs is The Goldberg’s on Wednesday nights. It is about a family growing up in the 1980s. I find it funny because many of the trends and styles and issues the children face remind me of my own childhood growing up in the 80s. Well the most recent episode focused on Columbia House Tape deals in the 80s. Some of you might remember the ads in the papers or in the magazines. They went like this: “The deal of the century! Buy eleven tapes for a penny and get a twelfth tape FREE. You only have to buy a few more tapes at the regular price over the next year.” Too good to be true. Some of the hype that people try to sell us is too good to be true. Yet, I am sure thousands of people signed up for this deal only to find out that they would be paying for those tapes for the next year as they were now stuck in a contract with Columbia House.
Sometimes, we hear stories, advertisements, or a juicy piece of gossip and think to ourselves that something doesn’t sound right or say “that can’t be true you’re making it up”. Well, I find that sometimes people feel that way about the Resurrection and there was perhaps that same level of shock and skepticism at the first Easter morning as well. We are told that the women went to clean and prepare Jesus’ body in the tomb on Sunday morning, three days after his death. But when they arrived the stone was already rolled away and Jesus was no longer in the tomb. An angel told them that he had been raised from the dead. They ran back and they told the disciples. And surprise of all surprises, they did not believe them. They had to see it for themselves. The story the women shared was too good to be true.
What was the catch here? Where did Jesus go? How could he have defeated death? It sounds like a dream we have after losing a loved one that they might in fact still be alive. How did Christ achieve this and what were they expected to do? The disciples sat fearful. They didn’t know what they should believe and what God intended with this twist in the Christ story. And sometimes we too sit in fear, in anxiety, frozen in our own skepticism of the world around us. Sometimes we see and expect the worst out of all situations because unfortunately there are a lot times when humanity tells lies, half truths, or deliberately forgets to inform people of crucial information like with the Columbia House tape program of the 80s. In other words, we get scammed too much and it affects our outlook in life.
Sometimes in life we experience so much hardship that we try to protect ourselves by becoming suspicious and this is certainly what the disciples had been through in that last week of their journey. They watched as people praised Christ’s coming to Jerusalem with Palms and cloaks; they watched as the mob turned on the very same man and they watched as Romans killed him. They had ever right to be frightened, nervous, anxious and in a state of non-belief on that first Easter morning. Their belief in the afterlife was a lot bleaker than what ours is and so the disciples sat in fear.
They believed in a Resurrection of sorts. They believed that the body would one day, way in the future, be given life once more but until then the soul slept in the depths of Sheol, the Jewish afterlife. One was not to wake the dead in Sheol either. So when Jesus was reported to be missing the men did not believe the women and went to see for themselves and then later within the same chapter they would come face to face with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They would not recognize Jesus because they did not believe that resurrection had actually happened. The idea of coming back from the dead was all too good to be true, or as our scriptures for this morning say the disciples believed what the women shared to be an “idle tale”.
But we know that the resurrection of Christ was not too good to be true, there was no catch to the deal. We are being given a promise with the Resurrection account in Luke. With the Resurrection of Christ, we are being reminded of what God is offering to each us. “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind”. Isaiah spoke of the promises of God and with Christ we are being offered the fruits of God’s new world, God’s new life which will brush aside the struggles of this life, the struggles of this world. Isaiah goes on to say that the only request God has is that we live with gladness, that we live with joy, that we live with hope.
We get a glimpse into the new life offered to us when we live with hope and with compassion and kindness. So this morning, as we go home to celebrate with our friends and families, we are asked to remember this joy and love and to share the Resurrection hope through our actions in the world. This is living the Resurrection life, and we can help to make our world a better place by sharing the hope of Easter morn. The hope those women felt after speaking with the angels. So go forth as a Resurrection people, having compassion, care, and kindness come first in all that you do reach out to those in need, uplift the downtrodden, be a source of hope to those who have lost it. The hope of Easter, the Resurrection and new life offered to all, is the one gift, the one deal that we receive that is not too good to be true. There is no tiny print, no hidden fees, no scams just acceptance, joy, love, and hope. Christ offers this to all who seek if we are willing to participate, if we only accept his love.
 Wright, N. T. “Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins.” Gregorium 83, no. 4 (2002): 615-35, 616.
 Isaiah 65: 17, NRSV.
(Based on Isaiah 65: 17-25 and Luke 24:1-12)