JESUS IS OUR HOPE FOR ETERNITY
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:16 –
Peter, by divine revelation, proclaims Jesus to be the Messiah, the prophesied Christ. Yet soon thereafter, the faith of the loyal apostles falters in time of crisis. Their Teacher, their Lord… the One they have followed step by step throughout His earthly ministry… is being crucified at the hands of those who are against Him. His dedicated followers are devastated. In fear, nearly all of them scatter, abandoning Jesus in His darkest hour.
“Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them… ‘Everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him and spit on Him; they will flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.’” – Luke 18:31-33
The apostles should not have been surprised at this dire turn of events. Jesus several times shared with them what was to come… His rejection, His death, His resurrection. He spoke clearly these prophecies in hopes that, when fulfilled, the apostles would believe (John 14:29).
Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, seeks to honor Him with a proper burial. He boldly steps forward to ask Pilate for His body. After wrapping it in linen cloth, He lays it in a new tomb hewn out of rock and rolls a large stone across its entrance. Pilate orders the stone to be sealed and the tomb guarded to prevent anyone stealing the body.
On the third day, after the Sabbath is over, the women are the first to arrive at the tomb. These loyal followers of Jesus bring spices to properly prepare the body. Yet the stone is rolled away! Tentatively they enter the cave. Two angels, “gleaming like lightning”, speak words of hope to dispel their fear…
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered His words.” – Luke 24:5-8
Are we looking for Jesus among the dead? Do we question whether He is truly alive? Or do we believe the truth of His resurrection and His presence with us now?
“I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!” – Revelation 1:17-18
Jesus is risen. He is alive, sovereignly ruling over His church and His kingdom. He is not a story or a legend. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. All who believe in Him will live (John 11:25). Because He defeated death, He is our promise of eternity. In Him, we too will conquer death and live forever in His holy presence.
“Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” – Luke 24:36
When the risen Lord appears to the apostles, they are filled with joy. All that He has promised them has come true. The faith of these men is renewed. They proceed to risk their lives for their Lord and the gospel… proclaiming the truth and the hope of the resurrected Christ.
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
The kingdom of heaven enters earth’s history in Jesus Christ as fully God and fully Man. He proves that He is the promised Messiah. He fulfills all that He came to earth to do. His life becomes the ransom paid for the redemption of all mankind. He now sits in all His glory at the right hand of the Father interceding for all God’s children.
Christianity is the only religion where a God came to earth as a human, dying for the people He loved and rising again in awesome power and glory. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key belief that unites and gives hope to all Christians everywhere.
“He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities… and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:5-6
Jesus is our Living Lord who fulfilled every prophecy. He is the thread of hope that runs through the Old Testament… from Genesis to Malachi. The prophets spoke of a future Messiah who would suffer for the sins of mankind. His suffering was His path to glory. In God’s perfect timing, the prophesied Christ brought salvation to all.
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life.” – 1 John 5:11-12
Christ is risen! The power of the resurrection is available to all believers to live for Jesus in an evil world. As we walk with Him in this life, we have hope for the future. His omnipotent power will one day resurrect us to eternal life. Let us live in the truth of the resurrection… in Jesus Christ, our Living Lord.