No matter how dark the night, dawn comes. On Sunday, dawn found four women making their way to the tomb. Mk. 16:1, Lk. 24:10. The guards froze like dead men as the earth shook and an angel broke the seal to roll away the stone. Mt. 28: 1-4. The women ran to tell the disciples and Peter and John immediately went to see for themselves. Lk. 24:12, Jn. 20:3-9. Still in shock, they could not comprehend what happened. The tomb was empty!
Hope Sunday: Death could not contain the High King of Heaven
Jesus was risen! Death could not contain the high King of heaven. Jesus suffered the greatest injustice so he could offer the greatest justice. He is now our advocate before the Father (1 Jn. 2:1), the mediator of a new covenant (Heb. 9:15). The stone that was intended as a barrier to Jesus, was destroyed. All barriers were broken.
Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20: 1-18), then traveled with two on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35), before appearing in the locked room of the disciples huddled in fear (Jn. 20:19). As the reality of the risen Lord set in, the disciples’ grief and despair melted into impossible joy. Light penetrated the darkness. Jesus opened their mind to the Scriptures so they could understand the Messiah had to suffer and die for the forgiveness of sins. Lk. 24:45-47. Everything suddenly made sense. Hope was born.
Hope Sunday: The birth of Hope!
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” 1 Cor. 15:19. But Jesus defeated death. “Where, O death is your victory. Where O death, is your sting?” I Cor. 15:55. He defeated sin. His perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins provides forgiveness and hope.
The guards fled the tomb in fear. Working with the religious leaders they conspired to save their lives and spread the story that Jesus body was stolen. Mt. 28:13-15. Don’t believe it.
Jesus overcame death. “Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Rom. 8:34. Believe that.
Hope Sunday: Foolish?
I have intelligent atheist friends. They think I am foolish for believing in a dead Jewish carpenter. I know “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27), but I don’t think it’s foolish. Both of us have faith. I have faith that there is an intelligent design to the universe. Having faith in a random series of accidents that resulted in a human springing out of primordial ooze, is much harder for me. I think it should be easy to agree on a Creator God.
More challenging to grasp is that this grand God of the cosmos could actually care about me. I’m not very important in the grand scheme of things. But I am created by God and I matter to Him. He loved me so much he sent his only son, Jesus, to die for me. Either Jesus was who claimed to be or he wasn’t. I don’t think a good man would lie, suffer and die on a cross. God would. Who makes up a religion that demands nothing – no rules or regulations? Salvation is by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone.
And then there are those disciples. Saturday they were afraid of their shadow. On Sunday they were filled with joy and conviction. What ordinary, unlearned men ever stood up to the authorities of the day, rejoiced in prison and beatings, boldly proclaimed the truth of a man raised from the dead, and ultimately suffered and died? I find it hard to believe any person would do that for a lie. But if I had been with the risen Jesus? Well that would radically change my life. We can see the historical impact of these men and the Bible and I find it much harder to assign that to a lie.
Hope Sunday: The powerful truth of a risen Jesus.
I encourage you to embrace the truth of a risen Jesus today. Believe He is the son of God who died for you. Then do what He commanded and love Him and love your neighbor. Some ordinary fisherman changed the world because they believed and received the Holy Spirit. You can too. That is the hope of the resurrection.
Go live in the hope of Easter.