The Strength of Hope

What is so special about Easter morning that sets it a part from every other morning? The answer is simple. Easter morning, like no other, represents the fulfillment of promises and the giving of hope.

As we think about the first disciples and apostles we cannot overlook what that first Easter morning meant for them. They woke to that first morning with a heaviness and sadness that would be hard for us to understand. All their hopes had vanished. Everything they had longed for and hoped for in Christ seemed, at the moment, to have evaporated.

Isn’t that just like people, to lose all hope so quickly. Truly Jesus knew what He meant when He said that we are helpless and harassed like sheep without a shepherd. But little did those first followers of Christ realize that their darkest hour was in fact their greatest victory. It would take them a little time to understand this great truth. But soon, every apostle and disciple of Christ would be traveling the known world telling every soul they could about this victory that Jesus Christ achieved on their behalf.

So, Easter is significant because in it we recognize that God the Father has fulfilled every promise He has ever made. The bible says,

“As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you … was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Cor. 1:18-20).

The apostles, and first disciples of Christ, did not realize the significance of that first Easter. God had been making promises since the beginning of time. And all those promises that God ever made found their fulfillment and completion in Jesus Christ that first Easter morning.

God told Adam and Eve that there would come from their seed a deliverer who would crush the might of the serpent which led them into sin and death. God told Abraham that through his seed (in the singular) that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

To Abraham God promised that He would rise up a special and unique Son of promise. Through Moses, God promised that a prophet greater than himself was to come. In the book of Exodus we learn that this promised One is to be our Passover lamb. In Leviticus we learn that He is to be our High Priest. In Numbers He is our great protector; and in Deuteronomy He is our city of refuge.

In Job He is our redeemer that lives; in the Psalms He is the Good Shepherd who will guide and protect His sheep. In the book of Proverbs He is our trusted wisdom. In the Song of Solomon he is our beautiful bridegroom. In Isaiah He is the great God, Emmanuel who comes as the suffering servant to take away the sins of the world.

We could go on and on listing the many promises of God. The point: those promises seemed to linger; and indeed, they were carried upon the hearts of the faithful for generations and for centuries. And though the time grew long, and though many people became anxious, God never forget His many promises that He had given to the children of men. And in the fulfillment of time a child was born, the unique son of promise, who was the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of peace. And in Him all the promises of God find their fulfillment and proclaim to the world, “Yes!”

So the disciples of that first Easter Morning would later come to recognize the significance of this time. And on Easter morning we will celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promises as well. So Easter morning is significant because is it a reminder that God has accomplished everything He ever promised.

Easter morning is also significant because in it we recognize that God the Father has given to the world a living Hope. The bible says,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3).

The disciples of that first morning were forlorn. Their spirits were ready to fail for sorrow. But when the two unhappy women approached the tomb of their beloved master, they were greeted with a strange and unexpected experience. The massive stone which covered the tomb had been moved, revealing an empty grave; and then two angles asked them a perplexing question. They asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Then they were triumphantly told, “He is not here, but is risen!” To the unexpected shock and joy of the women, they did not find a dead body, but a living Savior. And they were not simply told that He was alive. He told them Himself!

In that instant their sorrow was turned into joy, and their despair was replaced by faith and hope.

The Bible says that, “According to His abundant and great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!” (1Peter 1:3). When God raised Christ from the dead, he was telling the world that He cares. He was telling the world that He knows our sorrows, understands our weaknesses, and He has not left us alone. He, Himself, has come to save us and rescue us. And so above all, He was telling the world that He loves us.

The bible tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:31-39).

So when the these woman heard the great news “He is risen!”, Matthew records for us that they ran with great joy to bring word to the other disciples that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead. In a moment of time the disciples went from sorrow and defeat to great joy and victory. In there in lies our hope – a living hope based upon the power of God to bring life out of death, light out of darkness and joy and hope out of despair and defeat. The bible says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world…” Jesus Christ is our victory.

So Easter is a reminder that in Christ every promise of God has come to pass; and as a result we are given a living hope that gently reminds us that we are not forgotten, we are not alone, we are loved, we are forgiven, we are accepted by God and will one day be brought before Him and hear, “Enter into the joy of your Lord!

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