Tag Archives: Resurrection Sunday

Hope in a Promise

“So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world” (1 Peter 1:13). The past twelve to eighteen months have magnified the need for hope. COVID19 has caused much pain, and current events have people starving and searching for hope. Hope for a change in pace; hope for a better tomorrow. Perhaps as you are reading this, you are wondering about hope. Allow me to remind you of the hope we have in Christ’s Second Coming and what it means for us.

We have a great promise for which we can be hopeful. Revelation 1:7-8 says, “Look, he comes with the clouds of Heaven, and everyone will see him. Even those who pierced him and all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes, amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God, ‘I am the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One.” Think about the hope we find in those words of Scripture.

The Lord is Coming

The Lord’s coming is the first point of this great promise. We do not have to doubt or wonder if he will return. We know he is coming. “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with me where I am,” promises Jesus in John 14.

In a world where it seems heartache and pain are around every corner; this prophetic declaration of the Lord is a grand promise to you and me. “In spite of the threatening circumstances, Jesus spoke with calm assurance of the divine provision for them, and took for granted that they would have a place in the eternal world. Jesus never speculated about a future life. He spoke as one who was as familiar with eternity as one is with his hometown. The imagery of a dwelling place, rooms, is taken from the oriental house in which the sons and daughters had apartments under the same roof as their parents. The purpose of his departure was to make ready the place where he welcomes them permanently. Certainly, he would not go to prepare a room for his friends unless he expected that they would also eventually arrive,” according to the Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Jesus promises he will come back and take us to his Father’s house, so his return is as certain as his departure. The agony of this life is only temporary. The struggles we encounter are only a stop on eternity’s timeline, because “look, he comes with the clouds of Heaven,” and everyone will see him.

Everyone Will See Him

This is an exciting point in the Lord’s promise. We can only imagine and hope for that day. We are not sure what it will be like or how we will respond. I’m sure there will be joy, thanksgiving, and awe, but I am not certain those emotions justly describe the feelings of that day. I am not sure there are words to express the emotions we will feel. I am sure, though, Christ will come. He guarantees it.

Guarantees It Himself

This is an awesome promise which God himself guarantees. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary remarks, “Such a stupendous promise requires more than the prophet’s own signature or even Christ’s amen. God himself speaks, and with his own signature vouches for the truthfulness of the coming of Christ. Of the many names of God that reveal his character and memorialize his deeds, there are four strong ones in this verse. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Their mention here is similar to the first and last in verse 17, and is further heightened by the beginning and the end in 21:6 and 22:13. Only this book refers to God as the Alpha and Omega. He is the absolute source of all creation and history, and nothing lies outside him. Thus, he is the Lord God of all. He is the One who is and One who was and who is to come. He is continually present to his people as the Almighty (lit. “the one who has his hand on everything.””

To erase doubt concerning Christ’s Second Coming, God himself speaks to its truthfulness. God says without a doubt, we should know Jesus is returning and we will see his face. We can find blessed hope in this promise.

Right Timing

John is the one who received the vision of Revelation. It came to him as he was advanced in years and isolated on an island. This vision may have served as a boost to John’s hope, and like all things with God, came at the perfect time. The historic time in which we are living is the perfect time for hope, and as Christians, we have hope. We have hope in Christ’s return, in the fact we will explicitly see him, and the guarantee of his truth. Everything else may give way, but our hope will remain. Hebrews 12:28 encourages, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe.” Hang on because Christ’s Second Coming will be at the right time.

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The Days After the Resurrection

Jesus gives a starting point for sharing hope.

The time from Jesus’ resurrection to his ascension was eventful for his disciples. He appeared to them numerous times, and they never knew when or where he would show up. They needed to be ready to learn from Jesus at any time.

John 21 records Jesus appearing to some of his disciples as they were fishing. It was the early morning hours, and the men had been fishing all night. They caught nothing though until Jesus guided them. While the disciples were about 100 yards from shore, Jesus appeared on the shore. He suggested throwing the net on the right side of the boat. They did, and it was filled with fish.

They came ashore, and Jesus was waiting with a hot breakfast. Jesus needed to have a conversation with the disciples concerning the future, but first, he wanted to make sure their needs were met. If they were struggling and hungry, they would not be focused on what Jesus had to say.

The Bible encourages Christians to share our hope, and I believe we find a starting point in this post-resurrection appearance.

We need to help a person meet his or her physical needs before we can have an open door to discuss spiritual matters.

If a person is struggling and hungry today, he or she is not concerned about tomorrow. A starting point for sharing hope is helping meet physical needs.

  • It may be helping the person look for work.
  • It may be helping the individual identify ways to advance his or her skills to improve financial stability.
  • It may be helping a person navigate resources to find help.
  • Mostly, it is investing in the person’s life to earn the right to share our hope.

People are more content to discuss tomorrow when today’s needs are met.

 

 

The Evening After the Resurrection

Jesus offers encouragement in two ways.

The doors were locked. The day had been eventful. The disciples learned of an empty tomb early in the morning, and two of them just returned from Emmaus saying the Lord had appeared to them. Though the sun was setting, the excitement continued.

As the two disciples from Emmaus were speaking, Jesus appeared in the room even though the doors were locked. At first, this startled Jesus’ followers, then they became overjoyed when they realized it was truly Jesus. Jesus spent some time with them, and he encouraged the disciples in two ways.

Encouragement to help with their doubts.

The Gospel writers recall the disciples still had doubts in their minds. Jesus understood their doubts, so he offered an opportunity to touch his hands and feet. He also ate in front of them. A ghost or figment of their imagination would not have hands, feet, or the ability to eat, so it really had to be Jesus. He encouraged the disciples through their doubts.

One of the ways Jesus encourages people with doubts today is giving them an opportunity to see his hands and feet, the church, in action. The church should help one another as well as the community. The church is a picture of Jesus and gives us an opportunity to see him in action.

I wish I could say this was a perfect picture; however, the picture is not always perfect. I can say I believe the world is a better place because of the lives of genuine Christ followers. Their love and work shined in the world around them.

Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.

Encouragement to share their hope.

Jesus helped the disciples with their doubts, then he sent them to share their hope.

John 20:21 says, “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Jesus never intended for the disciples to keep his resurrection a secret. The Lord does not intend for Christians to keep our hope a secret. He desires for us to share it with those around us.

In many ways, these pieces of encouragement are connected. The person with doubts sees the Christian community sharing hope. Our sharing of hope allows the Lord’s love to shine brightly. What ways have you found to share your hope?

 

The Hours After the Resurrection

Seven miles of pondering.

The empty tomb was just the start of Easter day for the disciples. Several women, including Mary Magdalene, returned to the disciples with the exciting news, and the disciples started piecing the events together; however, there was still much doubt in their minds concerning the women’s news.

Two of the disciples decided to travel to Emmaus. They were joined on the 7-mile journey by Jesus, but they did not recognize him. As they walked, they talked.

The conversation turned to current events: Jesus’ crucifixion and the tomb being empty. Jesus used the Scripture to help the disciples overcome their doubt and see the truth. They were wondering if everything was true, but as they studied the Scriptures, they pieced everything together and understood.

Luke tells us after Jesus left the two disciples, they returned to Jerusalem. This means they walked 14 miles in one day, so they certainly got a workout. The account also gives us an idea to help overcome doubts.

Ponder the Bible.

If you are struggling with doubts, try studying the Scripture. For the disciples, it helped clear up confusion and settle some doubts. It may do the same for you.

C. S. Lewis, a well-known author, was an Atheist in his early 20s only to convert to Christianity after pondering the Bible. His intellect determined the claims of Scripture were sensible, and the explanation of life given in the Bible made sense. Lewis commented in Mere Christianity, Jesus had to be telling the truth. Otherwise, he would have been a lunatic, and there was no other evidence of Jesus not being sane. Lewis’ study of the Bible is what helped him conquer doubt and embrace Christianity.

God understands you and I may experience doubts, so he provides the Bible to ponder. Challenge your doubts with the claims of Scripture.

Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.

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The Moments after the Resurrection

Don’t keep hope a secret.

The tomb was empty, but the day was not over. There was still much for the disciples to experience as the hours of Easter unfolded. Jesus appeared to them at various times through the day. Each time Jesus helped the disciples understand something valuable. He started with Mary Magdalene.

Mary was weeping and standing outside the empty tomb. In her mind she had lost Jesus. She assumed someone had taken his body to a permanent burial spot. Already grieved by the crucifixion, the empty tomb only added to her heartbreak, because she didn’t understand Jesus had risen.

Then Jesus appeared and they had a conversation.

John 20:14 says, “At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus standing there.”

How often do we miss Jesus? We are consumed by our own thoughts, so we miss the fact he is standing beside us. Our worries and anxieties keep us from realizing he is there. Mary’s grief kept her from realizing Jesus was there, but he still had her well-being in mind.

In John 20:15, “He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Jesus checks on Mary before he instructs her. Mary was important to Jesus, and he wanted to take care of her needs. We too are important to Jesus, and he wants to take care of our needs. This is the reason Jesus and Mary are standing outside an empty tomb.

Verse 15 goes on, “Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni’ Which means ‘teacher.’

No doubt this would have been an exciting moment for Mary. Her hand on Jesus’ hand, and her hope was back. Jesus told her it was time to share her hope.

“Jesus said, ‘Do not hold onto me for I have not ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and she told them he had said these things to her,” says John 20:17-18.

Jesus told Mary it was time to share the hope she had found. She couldn’t force the other disciples to believe, but she could share hope with them.

We can share our hope with those around us. We can’t force them to believe, but we can illustrate our hope through our lives and actions. Our generosity, mindset, actions, and interactions speak volumes about the hope we have. Mary is told not to keep her hope a secret, but to go share it.

Share your hope today. Encourage someone in a Facebook post. Send a friend an encouraging text message. Call a neighbor to check on them before you go to the store the next time. Share your hope today.

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Sunday…A Risen Hope

Don’t look for the living among the dead.

As the sun rose, the ladies were up and gathering spices. They planned to give Jesus as proper of a burial as they could. They didn’t find what they were expecting when they arrived at the tomb.

Luke 24 says, “They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance, so they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground, then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here. He has risen from the dead. Remember what he told you back in Galilee. That the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.’ Then they remembered that he had said this, so they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples, and everyone else, what had happened.”

This would have been quite a scene. The disciples were still processing events and trying to figure out what to do next. Suddenly the door flies open and Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James rushed in followed by several other women. Perhaps all talking at once as they gave the exciting news to the Apostles.

Put yourself in the room. What would have you thought? What did the disciples think?

Luke 24:11-12 says, “But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings. Then he went home again, wondering what had happened.”

The news seemed like nonsense to the disciples. They thought the ladies were so grief-stricken they were hallucinating. It certainly would have taken me a minute to grasp everything the ladies were saying, so I can understand the disciples struggle.

It took a minute, but the disciples started to grasp the fact Jesus was no longer in the tomb. He had risen. The hope they thought they lost on Friday is found.

The same hope is still here today. We celebrate today because Jesus has struck a death blow to death. Enemies defeated; Jesus is preparing Heaven for our arrival. That is what we celebrate today.

Our celebrations may look different than previous years. No matter the look or size of the celebration, the hope is the same. We can celebrate an eternal hope in Christ Jesus, who has risen, and that is worth celebrating.

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