The empty tomb is full of hope

Do you need an extra dose of hope today?

Has our economic recession turned your life upside down? Is sickness and disease testing the outer edges of your health plan? Are your finances consistently bringing you to that place where you have too much month left at the end of your money? Perhaps you are having a bit of difficulty in your marriage or with rebellious children at home? Is it possible that your singleness is starting to stretch your faith beyond what you think you can stand?

Regardless of what you might be facing today, I have a word of incredible hope for you: EASTER!

To be sure, the words “Easter” and “hope” are synonymous with one another. For the Christian, Easter is more than bunnies and bonnets.

It is the blessed assurance of Matthew 28:5–6, “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.'”

The hope of Easter is found in the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead – just as He said He would do.

And the power of this hope is to be found in the promise God gave all the way back in the Garden: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Here, we see God refusing to turn His back on humanity even after Adam and Eve turned their backs on Him. Do you need a bit of hope today? You need look no further than Easter!

It is important to remember that the hope of the apostles died on the cross on Golgotha’s hill. Everything they had dreamed of and everything they had worked for died on the cross and was laid in the tomb.

They ran. They hid. They would never have been heard of again except for one thing … the resurrection. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected their hope, and, in a few short weeks, they were proclaiming the name of Jesus in the face of persecution and death. To ignite the hope in the heart of every believer, there is nothing like Easter!

Yet, we know by nature and experience that we are doubters. We have a tendency to question just about everything, and, as a result, often our reservoir of hope runs dry.

It is hard to find a Bible hero who was not affected by a bit of doubt.

Abraham doubted he would ever have the child God promised.  “But Abram said, ‘O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless?'” he said in Genesis 15:2.

Peter doubted even while he was walking on water.

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'” the story is told in Matthew 14:30–31.

Thomas doubted the reports of Jesus’ resurrection.

“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it,'” he said in John 20:24–25.

In each of these accounts we see just how God destroyed their doubt. Abraham was given the son he was promised. Peter was rescued by Jesus and put back into the boat. Thomas stood face to face with the Resurrected Lord and cried out, “My Lord and my God.”

I think we would all agree that in the eyes of natural man, all three men were in a situation that seemed utterly hopeless. Yet the lesson found in these stories – and countless others in the Scriptures – is designed to convince us that despite the apparent hopelessness of our situation, we can still have hope because of Easter!

We would do well to remember these words of our Lord: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).  Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, He is surely with you right now as He was with His disciples 2,000 years ago walking the streets of Palestine. He is with you whether you are walking in…

Singleness or marriage
Sickness or health
Plenty or want
Better or worse
A two-parent home or a single-parent home
Doubt or disappointment
Fear or frustration
Loneliness or the loss of a loved one

Remember, the unbeliever who has hope has no hope at all. Their hope is fearful. Their hope is uncertain. Their hope is anxious.

Their hope is in a word … hopeless. But this is not for you.

Your hope this Easter is found on every page of the Bible, crystallized in these words from the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:1–5: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Paul says he not only rejoices in the hope of the glory of God, but he rejoices in his sufferings. Why? How could he say this? Because he knew what his Lord had suffered for him, and he knew that he wasn’t alone. Beloved in the Lord, this Easter remember that the tomb was empty so your hope doesn’t have to be. Never forget that. Amen!

Blessings!

Rev. Tommy Boland is the minister of men’s and sports ministries at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and teaches adult Sunday school. For more information including Bible study resource materials, please send an e-mail to [email protected] or [email protected]

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