Summary: This Easter Weekend message looks at what made the Resurrection something that moved the disciples from the few who simply survived to those who thoroughly transformed the world.
MORE THAN SURVIVORS
Now in its 14th season, Survivor is a reality game show, in which an assortment of people are “marooned” in a remote location in a battle for cash and prizes. The show uses a system of progressive elimination, allowing the contestants to vote off other tribe members until only one final contestant remains and wins the title of "Sole Survivor."
In some ways this show has become a parable of our time. We live at a time when survival seems to be the goal of living. We live in an attempt to not be voted off the island. We battle along against a flood of emotions and circumstances that seem to threaten our very survival, and leave us overwhelmed and drowning in a flood of despair, guilt, regret and loneliness.
Without the Resurrection, at best, we have a dead deity draped on a cross. At worst, without the Resurrection, Christianity degenerates into a moralistic religion of righteousness. That is a “grave” picture of mere survival.
But with the Resurrection new life is breathed back into shattered dreams. With the Resurrection, Christianity is an opportunity to experience new life and new living both for now and in the future. It lifts us above the level of mere survival to a life that is fulfilled and meaningful, lived with purpose.
The Resurrection is the crucial event in Christian history because of the incredible difference it makes in the lives of Christ-followers. But what is it about the Resurrection that makes it such a pivotal event upon which Christianity ultimately rises or falls? The answer to that question can partly be seen in the record of those who witnessed the Resurrection.
This morning we are going to look at 17 verses that end the book of Luke, and from those verses, we will see how the Resurrection has the power to lift us up above the drudgery of despair to a life lived to the full.
1) The Resurrection restores our hope (vs. 35-40)
La resurrección restaura nuestra esperanza
Before we look at verse 35, let me set the stage. Beginning at verse 13, the story is told of two men who are going back home. In their own words they describe the shattered dream that they have experienced. “The chief priests and our rules handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped …” We had hoped, but we hope no longer. We have given up our dream … and we are going home.
But a startling revelation was waiting for them. Because the one with whom they shared their shattered dreams was soon to breath new life back into their dreams. The Jesus whom they had given up for dead was alive.
Just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the disciples closeted away in hidden spaces had lost their hope. That is where verse 35 picks up.
“Then to two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. He said, ‘Peace be with you.’ But the whole group was terribly frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
Can you see the hopelessness in the disciples’ response? Jesus is in the house and all they can think is Amityville Horror – a house possessed.
Someone has said, “We can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.”
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl, successor of Sigmund Freud of Vienna, argued that the “loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect on man.” As a result of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl contended that when a man no longer possesses a motive for living, no future to look toward, he curls up in a corner and dies.” Any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in camp,” he wrote, “had first to succeed in showing him some future goal.”
We all have had shattered dreams that have crushed some sense of hope. It may have been in the loss of a loved one, a treasured relationship that was broken, the loss of a job, a letter of refusal in response to your high school of college application, or perhaps a sin that we have committed that we just can’t believe God would forgive, and in that moment your dreams shattered and lay broken on the floor. It seemed as if your whole reason for living had instantly vanished, leaving you with no reason to go on.
That is how these disciples felt. But the Resurrected One reached across that brokenness and restored their hope.