Summary: Hope. It’s absolutely essential to life.The hope the world offers is based on our wants, desires and conjectures, but the hope Scripture talks about is different. This hope is as an expectation based on the truth and promises of God.

The Power of the Resurrection: Hope

1 Peter 1:3-9

The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their schoolwork during stays in the city's hospitals. One day, a teacher who was assigned to the program received a call asking her to visit a child. She took the child's name and room number and talked briefly with his regular class teacher and learned they were studying nouns and adverbs. She then went to see the boy that afternoon. No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, "I've been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs." And then they got to work. When she left, she felt she hadn't accomplished much. But the next day, a nurse asked her, "What did you do to that boy?" The teacher thought she must have done something wrong and began to apologize. "No, no," said the nurse. "You don't understand. We've been worried about if that boy would make it, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He's fighting back and responding to treatment. It's as though he's decided to live." Two weeks later, the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization: "They wouldn't send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?"

Hope. It’s absolutely essential to life. Dr. Jerome Groopman of Harvard Medical School found that when he diagnosed patients with serious diseases, all of them were “looking for a sense of genuine hope—and indeed, that hope was as important to them as anything he might prescribe as a physician.” In his book, “The Anatomy of Hope,” he writes, “We could not live without hope.” Even with all the medical technology available to us now, “we still come back to this profound human need to believe that there is a possibility to reach a future that is better than the present.” That is all the more important when we face overwhelming times of hopelessness, moments when it seems the world is against us and when it seems we have no control over what is happening to us. That’s what Mary Magdalene was experiencing as she approaches the tomb on Easter morning, shedding tears of hopelessness, despair and frustration. Jesus had healed her of demon possession, and more importantly, he had shown her how to have peace with God. He had made so many promises, said so many good things and performed so many miracles. But now he was dead and all the things of that died with him. Hope was lost. She wasn't alone. The disciples had given up everything: home, family, job and possessions. They watched as the crowds flocked to Jesus. They listened as He taught like no one before him. They watched in awe at his miracles and healings. They heard his claims that God was His Father, that He was one with God and that He had come to usher in God’s kingdom on Earth. And as he was crucified, they still held out hope He would be delivered. But then it happened. Scripture tells us that with a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last breath and, with Him, their hope died too.

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Moments when the world seemed like a very cruel place – a place of broken promises, unsuspecting diagnosis, unfulfilled dreams, unthinkable betrayal or lies, and devastating disappointments? Like when it seems like the cards are stacked against us and we have absolutely no control over what’s happening. And without warning, we find ourselves wrapped in hopelessness and despair. How can we face such situations and overcome them? As with Mary and the disciples, our only hope is bound up in Jesus and the power of the resurrection. Only one thing can bring hope to a hopeless situation. Only one thing can bring joy where there is only sadness. Only one thing can bring life where there is nothing but death. Only one thing can give you optimism when it seems that you’re defeated. And that’s the power of the resurrection! He is risen! And the same power which raised Jesus from the dead is available to you in your life and the circumstances you face.

Hope. It’s a word we throw around too casually. “I hope this works, I hope you feel better, I hope for that promotion.” The true essence of the word gets lost. The hope the world offers is based on our wants, desires and conjectures, but the hope Scripture talks about is different. This hope is as an expectation based on the truth and promises of God. This hope is eternal and won’t fail us. Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope (talking about God’s promises and purposes) as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” The hope that God offers is something to build on, it’s an anchor to hold us and keeps us from drifting after this and that, it is the rock on which we stand, and a Truth that cannot be moved or shaken. And it is forever bound up in the resurrection of Christ, which took a cross and a tomb, the very symbols of death, despair and hopelessness and turned it forever into a symbol of life and hope, no matter what we face! Hope allows us to see what others can’t.

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