Summary: Easter Message
This morning we celebrate Easter; we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the tomb that could not hold him over 2000 years ago. Over the years, as with any religious holiday and observances, the reality and the significance of what we are celebrating can get lost in all of the glitter and excitement of the celebration itself. Easter has become, for some people, just another holiday, a chance to get stuff and to give stuff and to get a few days off of school. It’s become about bunnies and chocolate, and colored eggs in fancy baskets but we know that those things don’t tell the real story of Easter. With all of the trappings and all of the different holidays to keep track of, it’s easy to get confused sometimes.
A Sunday School teacher asked her class of children what Easter was all about. She got a bunch of answers ranging from candy to the Easter Bunny to having to dress in fancy clothes. She wasn’t getting the answer she had hoped for so she pressed on. What does Easter really mean, what happened on the first Easter morning? A little girl raised her hand and said that that was the day that Jesus had come out of his tomb. Sighing with relief, the teacher smiled at the girl and prompted, "Jesus arose from the tomb, and what does He do for us?" The youngster replied, "He looks to see if he can see his shadow, and if He can, he goes back in for another six weeks."
Lost in all of the confusion was the real meaning and the real message of Easter. Easter is about one thing really. When you take away all that we’ve made it, Easter is hope. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus on that first Easter morning gave man real hope for the first time in history.
Hope is a word that we like to kind of throw around. I hope this works, I hope you feel better, I hope for this or that. The true essence of the word gets cheapened sometimes. Webster’s defines hope as: to cherish a desire with anticipation of obtainment. To the world, hope is to long for something, it’s to anticipate something that you want with all of your heart to be fulfilled. We have to have hope in this life.
Someone has been quoted as saying: We can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.
We need hope in our lives, and while the hope the world offers is based on our wants and desires, things that don’t satisfy and things that will fail us, the hope that Scripture talks about is different. This hope can be defined as this: an expectation based on the promises of God. This hope is different! This hope is eternal and won’t fail us. Hebrews says that:
Heb 6: 19 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, it keeps us from drifting after this and that, it is the rock on which the Christian stands, one that cannot be moved or shaken. This is the hope of God, and this hope is forever bound up in the resurrection of Christ that we celebrate today. That work that took a cross, the very symbol of death and despair and a tomb, the epitome of hopelessness and turned them forever into symbols of life and hope for the believer, that whoever believes in what was accomplished upon that cross and believes in who it was that walked out of that tomb would be saved. That’s the hope we have. As Peter writes:
1PE 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
That’s the Good News of the gospel, Jesus Christ is risen today! Hallelujah there’s hope for us!
No one believed and hoped more than Christ’s disciples until that day that hope was taken away from them.
I. The Removal of Hope
Anything that we’ve hoped for in this life that has let us down, those times where we’ve been overwhelmed by those feelings that come when hope is lost or when we’ve found ourselves in a hopeless situation those times pale in comparison to what the disciples went through on that dark day that Christ was crucified. That was the day that their hope died. The disciples and Jesus’ followers had all of their hopes pinned up in this man called Jesus. They had left everything to follow him. Homes, families, jobs, possessions, everything was left behind because of the hope of the message this man proclaimed. And they believed Him. They watched as the crowds flocked to Him. They listened as He taught in a way that no one before Him had ever taught before. Not as one with simply a knowledge of the Law, but as one with the very authority of God behind His words. They watched in awe as blind men received their sight, as the deaf heard and the lame walked. They saw a man with a shriveled hand stretch it out to wholeness again at the command of this man. They saw demons flee and tremble, they saw the crashing waves stilled by a word from His mouth. They had been the ones holding the baskets of left-over fish and bread after Jesus had fed 5,000 people with only a small boy’s lunch. They watched as He talked with the Pharisees in a way that no one else had dared. They themselves had been given the power to heal and to drive out demons in this man’s name.