Summary: Examines the hope we enjoy because of the resurrection. Suitable for a sunrise service.
CELEBRATING THE HOPE THAT JESUS BRINGS
Today we gather, much earlier than usual, to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was nearly 2000 years ago, that Jesus rose from the dead. It was almost 2000 years ago the ladies went and found an empty tomb. It was almost 2000 years ago, after hearing the report of the women, that several disciples ran to the tomb and found it empty, for Jesus Christ rose from the grave.
I remember several years ago, I had the opportunity to teach in Russia for a while. While there, I visited Red Square in Moscow. Though I couldn’t see it because the display was under going repairs, there in Red Square, they had Lenin’s body on display. Buddha’s body was cremated and his ashes built into monuments. Most of the great or powerful leaders in the world have tombs you can visit where their remains are interred. But not Jesus. Jesus’ tomb is empty. There is no body there. There are no ashes there. There are no remains there, for Jesus rose from the dead!
The Devil did his best to keep Jesus down. The grave did all it could to hold it’s captive. But, after 3 days, the Father said, “Enough.” An angel was dispatched to the earth. As his foot touched the ground an earthquake hit and the stone rolled away from the tomb. Not to let Jesus out, but to let the women and disciples in so they could see Jesus was gone.
Now, what is the result of this resurrection? What difference does it make to us?
Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, v3 of the passage we just read says, “He has given us a new birth into a living hope.” What is this living hope? What is the hope we now have, that only the resurrection of Jesus Christ can give us?
1. We now have a hope, knowledge, that death is not the end.
For much of recorded history, mankind has often been unsure of whether there is really life after death. Even today, many claim that this life is all there is. The conclusion of the matter is that we become worm food. But, because Jesus rose, we now have a hope in the certainty that one-day we too will rise again, that we too will live again. The Bible calls Jesus “the Firstborn from the dead.” Oh my friend, there will be others. Because of Jesus’ resurrection we have a certain hope that even if we die, one day we will live again.
2. Our hope includes the knowledge that evil does not win. – Sometimes today, it seems that the bad guy often wins. Sometimes it seems that the one who cheats, the one who lies, the one who steps on others at work to get ahead, is the one who prospers. We hear horror stories of people ripped off by unscrupulous contractors after the hurricanes. Almost daily, I read in the paper of this one cheating or that one. How often do we read of politicians cheating, or working to make sure their businesses get the good contract? It seems that there is no hope for the little guy, the one who lives right, to ever get ahead.
I imagine the disciples and the followers of Jesus felt that way, for 3 days. For 3 days they wondered how the Roman Empire could get away with what it had done to Jesus. Pontius Pilot. The Devil. …
On the 3rd, “Up from the grave He arose. With a mighty triumph o’r His foes. He arose the victor from the dark domain and He lives forever on His throne to reign. He arose. He arose. Hallelujah Christ arose.
3. Our hope includes the knowledge that God forgives –
Why in the world would the angel specifically mention Peter? Why would he call him by name?
Peter had walked with Jesus for 3 years. He knew Jesus intimately. He had watched as Jesus performed miracles. … On the night of the Lord’s Supper Peter told Jesus, “Even if the rest of them leave you, I never will.” … Peter denied Jesus 3 times. …
Imagine the scene if you will. The women come from the tomb. They pound on the door of the upper room where the disciples were hiding until finally the disciples open the door. The women burst into the room and breathlessly tell all those assembled there what the angel had said. As they tell their story, they glance around. Over in the corner they see Peter. He’s no longer acting so bold. He’s no longer acting like a leader. He’s sitting alone in the corner, head hung low. Seeing him there the women say, “Oh, and Peter. The angel specifically mentioned you. He mentioned you by name. He said, “Tell the disciples and Peter.”