“[The angels] said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!’” (Luke 24:5-6)
Easter is here again. It is a day of remembrance of a unique event: Christ is risen! Christians can joyfully testify to this because they have found forgiveness for their sins due to the Resurrection.
Let us look at several events preceding the Resurrection.
For one, there were the earlier hopes of the disciples. The disciples thought that the Lord was the Messiah—and He was.
However, they were also influenced by the Jewish expectation that Christ would literally rule Israel. They could therefore not understand the Lord’s indications of His coming, tragic death.
In the dark night in Gethsemane, the Lord still said to His disciples: “Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” And as He was speaking, the approaching footsteps of the soldiers became clearer and clearer and Judas suddenly appeared as well, walking straight toward the Lord and kissing Him. That was the treacherous Judas kiss. Their beloved Lord and Master was taken prisoner. He did not defend Himself, and the disciples fled. Then, the Lord was interrogated, beaten, and crucified.
And so, all of the disciples’ hopes were dashed on Good Friday. Then, Christ was laid in the grave. It was, so to speak, the last sliver of hope. It is understandable that the disciples were very discouraged, feeling entirely helpless. We read about this in Luke 24:21: “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.”
Dear reader, are you also drowning in hopelessness? Take heart, for a change will come as it did on Easter morning.
The morning of the Resurrection
On Sunday morning, several women brought the 11 disciples news of the Resurrection. However, hopeless as they were, the disciples could not believe this wonderful news. Peter ran to the grave to see for himself and was left wondering what could have happened there. However, once the disciples had seen the Lord, they believed. Jesus lives!
Now, all hopelessness had fled. Great joy filled their hearts.
They experienced what David had written: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b). We, having been redeemed from sin, can experience this time and time again.
The great impact of the news of the Resurrection
The news of the Resurrection took away all discouragement and hopelessness! Now, the disciples had a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).
Every sinner can experience this hope today. We see this with the prodigal son. He decided to go to his father. Then, something very important happened.
He said: “Father, I have sinned.” Being born again means confessing sins, ceasing to sin, and staying watchful and praying.
Many people say: There is a god, and we all believe in the same god. But even the devils hold such a general belief (see James 2:19). Many people acknowledge God, but not Christ as the Son of God. On that point, we read in 1 John 2:23: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” Whoever has received forgiveness for sins has a living hope in Christ.
This is exemplified by the following anecdote: A missionary was preaching in a village in northern India. A Muslim came to him and said: “You must admit that we have something that you do not.” The missionary asked what that might be. The Muslim said: “You know, when we go to Mecca, we at least find a coffin. However, when Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave.” “That is the difference,” explained the missionary. “Mohammad is dead. Mohammad is in his coffin. And all false systems of philosophy and religion are in their coffins. But Jesus Christ, whose kingdom encompasses all nations and tribes, is risen. All power in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. That is our hope.”
All attempts to refute Jesus’ resurrection have failed. “When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, ‘Tell them, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept” ’ ” (Matthew 28:12-13).
If the devil has no other recourse, he spreads lies. However, the disciples spread this glorious message of the resurrection very quickly, and they defended it with their own lives, dying for the resurrected Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus is proof that Christ is the Son of God. If He had not come back from the dead, we would still be miserable, pitiable people living in sin (1 Corinthians 15:17,19). The Resurrection is therefore significant for the divine plan of salvation.
Christ surpasses everyone and rules every-thing
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,” said the Lord (Matthew 28:18). God seated Christ at His right hand (Ephesians 1:20-22). He has dominion over all powers of this world and the next. This also makes Christ the head and ruler of the Church—the Church of God. He is not the head of a community in which good and evil coexist, or in which sinners and the redeemed take communion together, or in which unbelievers occupy important internal positions. The Church of God, as taught by the Bible, is pure and holy.
Christ is hope for the hopeless
When Christ was buried, the disciples lost all hope. You could say their hope was buried too. This is an image that is applicable for many people today: Their hope is buried—they do not have any. One hoped for a training position and was always rejected. Another failed an examination—what now? Young people get married and encounter many differences of opinion. Some hope for a long life and fall ill in their prime. Where do you want to go with your hopelessness? Bring it to the Lord!
Every life has its problems. Mine has been no different. But I can say: Christ is and remains my hope!
Why do so many people commit suicide? In 2008, 9451 people killed themselves in Germany. They had no hope and drowned in despair. Many people experience what Luke described regarding a ship in distress at sea: “all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (Acts 27:20). But Paul believed in God, kept his hope in God, and encouraged everyone on the disorientated ship. We can orientate ourselves by looking to Christ.
Sometimes we hear our GPS say: Please turn around! Turn around and come to the resurrected Savior. Christ says: “You must be born again.”
Christ is the anchor of hope for your life
Not alcohol, not drugs, or gambling or anything else can give you hope. The Lord gives strength to become free of these addictions. Rebellion against state power or against parents does not help us out of hopelessness—only the Lord can help.
Christ is risen—that is a unique message. No other religion can claim such a fact. Jesus lives—that is the basis for the belief in resurrection. Jesus lives—that is the basis for the living hope of every person.
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Revelation 1:8).