Summary: Easter morning sermon on the hope that Jesus gives us. Also the start of a series on the Resurrection.
1 Peter 1:3-4 – Hope is in Bloom
Let’s read our passage for today, 1 Peter 1:3-4, paying close attention to the idea of life in v3.
As I was preparing for this message last week, I was thinking about this Easter lily that I bought Michelle. We both love these flowers. They are really beautiful flowers when they are in full bloom.
But when I bought this, it had no flowers. It had the buds, but they weren’t opened at all. None of the four flowers was open when I bought it. But I bought it with the expectation that there would be flowers, that the buds would burst open, and that the plant would be in full bloom by Easter. You could say that I bought the plant in hope that it would become more than what I actually saw with my 2 physical eyes.
You see, my hope that it would bloom into something beautiful came not from what I could see. Yes, I saw others that had bloomed, but I wanted a plant that would last a little longer, so I bypassed those ones. I looked for one that carried the hope that the best was yet to come.
The idea of hope sustains us. It does a lot more than decide which lily to buy at Easter time. Hope motivates us to keep going even when our 2 physical eyes cannot see anything better.
I like the story about a man who stopped to watch a Little League baseball game. He asked one of the youngsters what the score was. "We’re losing 18-0," was the answer.
"Well," said the man. "I must say you don’t look discouraged."
"Discouraged?" the boy said, puzzled. "Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t come to bat yet."
That’s hope. That’s believing that things will be better, even though how things look isn’t all that appealing. That’s believing that things will improve, and that the best hasn’t yet arrived.
Hope factors in deeply to the very 1st Resurrection Day. Let’s go back and set the scene. Jesus had been placed on the cross on Friday morning, had hung there slowly dying for about 6 hours, and died at about 3PM Friday afternoon. He was taken down off the cross and prepared for burial by 2 closet followers, men who had not up until then revealed any allegiance to Jesus – Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus.
It was now early Sunday morning. Jesus’ female disciples – Mary the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, and others – started to the tomb in the private garden before it was even sunrise. They went to anoint Jesus’ body with perfumes and spices. Although they saw from a distance Joseph of Arimathea taking Jesus’ body, maybe they didn’t know that Joseph himself prepared Jesus’ body. Or perhaps they wanted to do one last act of service themselves. Either way, they went to say goodbye to their loved leader.
They had a certain amount of hope at this point. Their hope was to do one last act of service. They just wanted to love their now-dead leader. It was all the hope they could muster. I think sometimes we get that way. We will try to make the best of a horrible situation. There isn’t much hope, but we will cling to whatever we can. We will do what we can with what we have, but it’s more of a grim view of things, without much hope in it at all.
But the problem with this is that it is still limited by what we can see and what we cannot see. After all, the women had a problem: who would move the stone? The stone blocking the entrance to the tomb weighed 2000 lbs. That would be a problem. Maybe they didn’t think about it too much. Maybe they hoped someone could be there to help them. Maybe they were just going to do as much as they could do, and do no more. At any rate, they were still only using their physical eyes. Their hope was still pretty small.
But when they got there, they found that the stone was already moved. Apparently they didn’t feel the earthquake, when an angel rolled back the stone. Well, the guards posted at the tomb sure felt it – and saw the angel too. The angel just plopped down on the stone, and the guards passed out because of fear and shock.
It’s interesting to notice that their problem was solved without their even seeing it done. And it was solved supernaturally. While they were putting their hope only in what they could see with their eyes, they didn’t see God moving in mighty ways to turn their misery into joy.
So, by the time the women got there, the grave was open and empty, and the guards were unconscious nearby. The women entered the tomb. Suddenly the angel appeared, along with another one, sitting where Jesus had been. They stood up and said, “Don’t be afraid or alarmed. I know you’re looking for Jesus, who was crucified. But why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here – He’s risen! Remember the words He spoke when He was with you in Galilee? He said He would be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, but would rise again. Come and see where He was. Now, hurry – go tell His disciples, and especially Peter, that they will see Him in Galilee.”