Summary: When we lose site of God’s promise, we lose site of God’s hope.
Have you ever lost hope? All three of those families just said hope seemed to be gone. That’s a big deal – that’s hard to speak out loud, but I have no doubt that nearly 100% of us have looked at a situation and wondered if there was any hope.
Hope seems to go to invisible mode when we can’t see the solution.
In fact, without question, what we see is the determining factor for what hope we have.
Have you ever tried to see something, but for the life of you, you couldn’t see “it”?
EYE ILLUSIONS: What do you see?
o Stereogram – Skateboard
o Stereogram – Nothing
o Young woman/Old witch
o Empty Tomb
Did you know the people in the Easter story had the same issues we have? Come on, doesn’t that make you feel a little better. It’s like the first time when you realize that your child isn’t the only child that does weird stuff. Or, you’re not the only person who has that weird habit.
The Easter story characters looked at the empty tomb where Jesus’ body has been placed and they saw very different things.
John 20:1-2 (NIV)
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Mary saw a LIE.
“You’re hopeless!” That’s the first pitch the devil throws when life takes an unexpected turn.
Think about this – every one of us understands this perspective when it comes to life. Some of us only see the lie. Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb, but what she really saw was a stolen body…a lie.
When you hear bad news, do you hear the worst news?
Could the very reason your “hope well” is completely dry be because you’re listening to the lies.
There are no hopeless situations. There are only hopeless LIES.
John 20:3-7 (NIV)
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
Luke 24:12 (NIV)
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Peter saw his LIMITS.
Peter was thinking horizontally, when Jesus taught him to think vertically.
He thought through the lens of his own capabilities…he thought only with logic…that’s why he was confused.
Peter didn’t go the negative, like Mary did. But, he also didn’t go to the positive because the positive would have been that Jesus was actually alive – that wasn’t possible, was it?
Peter was convinced he knew Jesus’ plan – take over the entire government and reign as king – that seemed the be logical and explainable…it was horizontal thinking.
Jesus’ entire life involved a simple teaching:
When our vertical perspective is right, our horizontal perspective will be too.
John 20:8-9 (NIV)
Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
John saw the LORD.
John wasn’t some super-human, Christ-follower. However what he saw triggered his belief.
In other words:
o The promise Jesus made that He was the Savior for all mankind…
o The promise Jesus made that He would deliver anyone who believed in him…
o John saw the empty tomb as Jesus fulfilling that promise.
o John saw that Jesus delivered on His promise.
Here’s his promise:
Matthew 20:17-20 (NIV)
Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
Listen to that last part…on the third day…the day when Mary, Peter, and John looked into the tomb… “On the third day he will be raised to life.!” Jesus’ resurrection from the dead means Jesus beat death. He paid the price for your sins and my sins…because He raised from the dead, we have hope.