More than 2,000 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, people are still attracted to Easter. Those who seldom go to church throughout the year will fill the pews on Easter Sunday. Others who won’t even go to church at Easter time will take advantage of the long weekend and stock up on Easter eggs. But they too understand, perhaps more than we realize, just what the weekend is all about. Easter is all about hope, and that still resonates with people.Easter is all about hope, and that still resonates with people. Click To Tweet
There’s a sense of hopelessness that characterizes the daily lives of most people.
- North Korea is but the latest reminder that we have enough nuclear bombs to blow up the world, and international agencies are desperately trying to keep the lid on it.
- We have done a great job of polluting the world and some of the pollutants we’re using have a thousand years in which they will continue to be toxic.
- The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen as the middle class continues to shrink, and those engulfed in poverty continues to expand.
- Millions go to bed hungry every night and that doesn’t just happen in developing countries. It’s also in our own back yard.
This is the context in which we celebrate Easter and gather together on Easter Sunday. As we do we say to the world that we celebrate the fact that God, in raising Jesus Christ from the dead, is saying there is still hope for the world―there is still hope for you.there is still hope for the world―there is still hope for you. Click To Tweet
The Hope of the Resurrection
James Stewart tells the story of a painting. It’s a painting in which Faust is playing chess with the devil for his soul. Faust has only a few pieces left on the board, seems to be checkmated, and his countenance reveals his sense of doom. And the devil, who appears to be very much in charge of everything, has a kind of glee painted on his face.
Through the years, people come into the gallery where the picture is hung, look up at it, and see the hopelessness of the situation. They go away feeling, to some degree, that the artist has captured their own situation. And then one day, there comes into the gallery a great chess master who stands for hours and stares at the chessboard. Finally, with a shout that disturbs everyone, the chess master says: “It’s a lie! The king and the knight still have moves left.”
That’s the true meaning of Easter. As we look at our world, as we look at our own lives, the enemy of our souls wants us to believe we are checkmated. But the resurrected Christ looks at the chess game that is our lives and declares: It’s a lie, you still have moves left. No matter how hopeless your life may seem, Easter has a word of hope for you. God’s not dead, he is alive. Jesus’ resurrection has tremendous implications for you. He is risen means he is present, he is with you and that means hope.
When Hope Replaces Despair
What might that mean for you? Perhaps it might help to recall what it meant for the disciples, those first followers of Christ.
Immediately after the death and resurrection of Jesus the disciples were a very confused and disoriented band of former disciples. But just 50 days later they were transformed into a group of people with an unshakable understanding of their message and mission. What was once a small group of people, so frightened for their physical safety that they’re holed up in a room, became a group of people so bold that they were willing to take on the very establishment that had orchestrated the crucifixion of Jesus. You will recall that even as Jesus was instituting the Lord’s Supper there were some in this group who were jockeying for position in the Kingdom of God, yet they became an unbelievably unselfish, giving kind of people. From a people who basically had been defeated and gone back home to their former trades, they became a movement that was to shape the world—a movement in which you and I have been caught up.
You’d hardly believe it was the same group. What happened to them? They met the risen Christ. He imbued them with hope by telling them he would send them the Holy Spirit who would be his presence and power in their lives. They believed and hope replaced despair.They believed and hope replaced despair. Click To Tweet
The Gift of Easter Hope
What Easter says is that the risen Christ comes to you and me, not just as we look at a beautiful sunrise or sunset, not just as spring replaces winter, not just through the preaching and teaching of His Word, or as we gather to worship but Christ actually comes to us with his living power and his living presence. He comes to all the places in our lives where death has placed its icy grip, and brings life.He comes to all the places in our lives where death has placed its icy grip, and brings life. Click To Tweet
Easter hope becomes a reality when we say “Come to me, Lord Jesus. Draw me out of this death which I have called life and draw me into the fullness of life you came to give me. Come to me in all the circumstances of my life—when my hope has been crushed, when my routine is empty, when I am down and discouraged.” If you do that he will come and He will bring Hope.
Easter is when the church meets to celebrate the fact that we, too, can meet the risen Christ and our lives can be different. This Easter, I am excited to remind you that you still have a move left. I implore you to use that move and embrace the hope that is the risen Christ.I am excited to remind you that you still have a move left Click To Tweet