When you have gone to Sunday school a long time, you know some of the answers to the typical questions even when you are young.    

“Who saves us from our sins?”  “JESUS!”  Gold Star.

“What is sin?”  “The wrong things we think, say and do.”  Gold Star. 

Then in youth group, you start learning more about not deserving the Father’s gift of Jesus.  You find out that in God’s mercy, He doesn’t give us what we deserve.

“Do we deserve salvation from our sin?”  “No.”  High five.

“What do we all deserve because of our sin?” “Death.”  High five.

Then the tough questions bubble up, “If we deserve death for our sins, why don’t we immediately die when we sin.  Like if we lie or cheat on a test?”  Good question. 

“Because of God’s love.  The death here is eternal separation from God not just our heart stopping in this life.  He loves us no matter what and wants to give us a chance to accept the gift of full life now and life eternal through Jesus.”  

As we continue to grow, we learn that God’s love goes beyond His mercy. In His love for us, He also gives us His grace.  His grace is getting MORE than we deserve.  We get the opportunity to live with Him eternally, but also to do work for Him now to bring others life. 

Jesus didn’t just die for our sins, He rose again and has a plan for us beyond our expectations for this life.  What did people expect from Jesus’ life?  

People expected Him to save them from oppressive Roman rule.  People who followed Jesus didn’t expect Him to die.  They didn’t expect Him to rise from the dead.    

Jesus went way beyond anyone’s expectations except the Father.  Jesus did exactly what the Father wanted Him to do.  There was no divine rejoicing in the meeting of expectations during His death, but can you imagine what it was like when He rose from the dead?  Imagine how excited you get when your children do the right thing and multiply that by the stars in the universe for how Jesus pleased His Father in meeting His expectations. 

God’s love goes so far beyond all expectations.  Love like Jesus, parents, love beyond your children’s expectations.  Instead of only giving justice, give mercy.  Instead of only giving mercy, give grace.  Give love beyond expectations like the empty cross and the empty tomb.