Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” (Matthew 28:1-10).
Hope. We use that word a lot. We use it to express our preferences and dreams about the weather, our favorite sports team, our future vacation destinations, and what we will eat for lunch. Hope, in a typical conversation, expresses a wish or a desire while there is still uncertainty. While hope is a part of our daily vocabulary, it seems to be less often used in its biblical context. It’s been said that “Hope is the one thing that will get us through the darkest of times.”
Today we celebrate Easter, the day when Jesus rose from the dead. His resurrection brings hope to us all. The late Emil Brunner once said, “What oxygen is for the lungs, such is hope for the meaning of human life.” As the human organism is dependent on a supply of oxygen, so humanity is dependent on its supply of hope. Yet today hopelessness and despair are everywhere. Peter, who himself was given to despair following his betrayal of the Lord, writes in a triumphant note, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
There is hope that mistakes and sins can be forgiven. There is hope that we can have joy, peace, assurance, and security in the midst of the despair of this age. There is hope that Jesus Christ is coming again soon – this is what is called in Scripture “the blessed hope.” There is hope that there will come a new heaven and a new earth, and that the Kingdom of God will reign and triumph. Our hope is not in our own ability, or in our goodness, or in our physical strength. Our hope is instilled in us by the resurrection of Christ.