Reasons For The Hope That Is In Us
The run-up to Easter is full of historic beliefs as we rehearse the centerpiece of our faith. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus resolutely “set His face to go to Jerusalem.” And as He did so, He soberly foretold how He would suffer, be put to death but also be raised from the dead.
One of the first beliefs that we rehearse is that suffering touches everyone. All of us are fallen, all of us suffer and cause suffering, and as those consequences ripple out – like rings from a stone thrown into water – all of us feel it. This is the historic basis for the season of Lent. But while we can usually quickly say where we’ve been hurt, do you believe that all of these hurts extend to the Lord? We believe that suffering touches everyone, especially the Lord. That is why He had to die – to save us from eternal suffering.
The next belief that we rehearse is that Jesus’ resurrection offers hope to everyone – especially the humble. Jesus is really risen. Just some of the implications of this are: 1) There IS something beyond death. 2) Jesus IS God in human form. 3) He promised this – and kept this promise – so He can keep His other promises, like saving and forgiving all who trust Him. And 4) He can change death so He can change anything, including my sinful, dead heart. It’s just that some people don’t believe it and some people don’t care. The Bible describes them as proud, or full of unbelief. But to the humble, this is the best news ever proclaimed!
And another core belief that we rehearse at Easter is that because Jesus is not undone by suffering, we do not have to be undone by it either. Easter is a season of profound hope. This is NOT a feeble rip-off of pagan “Spring = a new birth” beliefs. Christians celebrate Easter as something infinitely greater than anything in mere creation. Spring has come with every year since creation, and death was always there since Adam’s Fall into sin (with no hope). Easter is the celebration that God entered into creation to do something once and for all about everything that is wrong – to give us hope by His work, doing something that no one else could do.
As you may have opportunities to answer people who ask, “Why do you do these things?” Or “What is Easter really about?” we want you to be able to answer and explain “the hope that is in you.” Let’s celebrate the best news we’ve ever heard!
Things to pray for:
– Wonder. Praise God for the amazing story of His wisdom, power and love of Jesus coming to this earth to save people like us. Praise the LORD for how He entered into suffering and for victoriously coming out of it in His resurrection.
– Gratitude. Give thanks to Jesus for His victory over suffering! Thank Him for power over everything wrong in creation and His ability to guarantee eternal goodness by His Gospel.
– Hope. Ask the Holy Spirit to bear in you the fruit of joy – which is an aspect of hope.
– Love. Ask the Lord to help you to be secure in His love for you, and to help you show His love to others who desperately need hope.
Tim Rice, Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting