“Now we live in the hope of eternal life
because Christ rose again from the dead.”
I Peter 1:3 TLB
One of the most strategic and powerful statements in all of Scripture is the message the angels gave the grieving women coming to anoint Jesus’ body for burial… “He is not here. He is risen!” (Luke 24:6 NIV)
If that short communication had not or could not have been stated there would be no hope for us personally or for the world itself. Everything rested on the promise Jesus made just days before 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.’” Luke 24:7 NIV
In the tension of the moments filled with deceit and apparent defeat, they remembered the ‘delivered over to the hands of sinners’ clearly, and the fact of his crucifixion all too clearly. They could still vividly see the broken body of their Lord as it was taken down and sealed in a tomb. It was the message of the resurrection on the third day that got lost in the sorrow of his death.
So overpowering was the hopelessness of Jesus’ life without his resurrection, that two close friends of his, walking to the nearby town of Emmaus literally walked beside Jesus for some time and never took notice of who He really was. (Luke 24:13-32)
The hope Peter spoke about in the opening verse is only available with Jesus up and out of the tomb. Every word He had previously spoken, every promise He had ever given, all the ‘help in times of trouble’ would have meant less than the signature of a crazy man… if the resurrection had not occurred.
But what a difference his resurrection has made. As I looked around me in church this morning, I saw many who were up in years who could have been pining over the brevity of life. Yet their hands were raised and they had smiles of joy because ‘as He lived, they would live also.’
There was a man who had just lost his brother whose look was not downcast, but joyous. The joy of the Lord was literally his strength.
Across the aisle was a young couple with two small children. All were filled with hope even in the midst of uncertainty and evil in the world around them. The resurrection of Jesus gave them hope for their family’s future.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5 NIV
Thank God his Son is not in the grave, but living inside of us!