Points Covered: The Risen Hope. Resurrection is hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for eternity.
Mark 16:1-14 1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. 9When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
He has risen! He is not here. With those words the angel of the Lord announced what I believe to be the greatest event ever in all of human history.
The great moments in human history is first the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the next is when the Lord Jesus Christ there on the cross of Calvary voluntarily gave up his spirit and died for you and me. But on that first day of the week, as the light began to dawn across the sky, our passage says us that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulchre. I am sure they were heartbroken. I am sure they expected to find total lack of access to the body of the Lord Jesus Christ because that great stone was there to close off the entrance to the tomb. But when they arrived there, something different had taken place and the announcement had been given to them by the angel of the Lord: “He is risen! He is not here.” That is the greatest moment in all of human history.
You see if it is not for that moment when Jesus rose from the dead, then his coming at Christmas would have been no avail. If it had not been for that moment when Jesus rose from the grave, his dying on the cross of Calvary would have no benefit for you and me. If Jesus did not rise from the grave, trust in Jesus would be futile. Jesus is the only person to rise from the grave and never die again. His tomb is still empty.
Many events have taken place on planet earth which has change the life and quality of human beings. The 2 World wars, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, invention of atom and nuclear bombs, the development of computer, internet etc and the world is no more the same. But the resurrection is the only event that has brought total hope and transformation in the lives of the entire mankind through all eternity. Isn’t that wonderful?
As we think about that resurrection in this wonderful resurrection Sunday morning, I would like to talk to you about three things that we have hope for because of the resurrection.
1. Hope for Today.
Because of the resurrection of Jesus I have hope for today.
Illustration: One day a father and his daughter were out for a leisurely drive in the country. It was a hot summer day and the windows were rolled down. Suddenly the daughter began screaming in her seat. A bee had just flown inside the car through the open window. This would not have been a problem for most children, but for this little girl, it was a problem. You see, this girl was very allergic to bee stings. In fact, even one sting could send her into a coma. As the girl was flailing her arms around, the father quickly pulled over to the side of the road, then calmly reached over and held his daughter’s arms down. Then, he himself, with his big and strong hands, caught the bee. The bee promptly stung the man, and he threw the bee out the window. The girl, still in tears, was unable to calm down. The loving father reached over and held her. And he whispered these words in her ears: “It’s OK. It won’t hurt you now. I took the sting for you.”
I do not know how many of you are sitting here with daily issues of life and afraid of what is happing to you. Resurrection is hope for today. He is alive and present to help you in the time of need.
Think about a moment those that days and events which preceded the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. As they made their journey towards Jerusalem for the last 6 months about, Jesus had been teaching his disciples that he was going to die. They did not understand that. His disciples rightly knew the prophets that their Messiah was a king and he was going to establish a kingdom. The Bible teaches that in the OT and he was going to be the King of kings and the Lord of lords. They understood that. What they did not understand is the great teaching of the OT that the Messiah first would come to die. Somehow Jesus’ disciples just could not get a grip on that truth.
As Jesus began to teach them, their hearts began to be troubled. So in John 14, there at the last supper Jesus said to them let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. Now the reason Jesus said that to them were because they were disturbed.
Then they went from that last supper. Judas betrayed Jesus and Jesus voluntarily permitted himself to be taken captive. He was tormented by his captors. Judas had betrayed him. Peter denied him and the Bible tells us that all of the other disciples fled.
So as we approach the first day of the week, resurrection day, Jesus’ disciples were in a very, very sad condition. They were crushed beyond measure. No one has ever been more crushed in the circumstances of life than these disciples were. They had seen him from a distance at his arrest and trial. John had finally made his way back close enough to the cross that Jesus could speak to him there and so he saw Jesus suffering and dying and his blood pouring from his body there on the cross. Then their Jesus was buried.
Try to imagine in your hearts the condition of the disciples, representatives of you and me over the next hours and days. Darkness, no hope left, crushed beyond measure. Their dreams had died. These men had left home. Some of them had left great treasure and business. Some of them had left position in order to follow Jesus. They had given up everything for Jesus and their hopes were pinned on him and now he was dead. They had seen it with their own eyes. They knew where his body was there in the tomb.
So the hours passed and they were crushed but the first day of the week began to dawn. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary saw Jesus and he instructed them to go and tell the disciples that he had risen as he had said he would. The disciples continued to doubt for a while. Jesus had to talk with them and let them touch his body to see that it really was true.
But after the announcement of the resurrection, these men whose hearts had been stricken with fear, crushed, and defeat began to get a new energy about themselves.
Now what does that have to do with us today? Resurrection is hope for today. Why does that give us hope for today? Let me ask you this question. What dreams have died in your life? Where are you right now in life? Where are you afraid and agitated in life? Some have lost jobs. Some have family difficulties? Are you battling financial problems? Is it your career? Is it your health? What dreams have died? Where has your life been crushed? Some may say, well I am doing well, many will say that today but someday you have felt crushed in the past and you do not know the future.
If Jesus can rise again from the grave I have hope. I believe that he will work in my life, transform my life. It does not matter how big my problems are. It does not matter how difficult my situation is. People may reject me, family may lose hope in me, but I have hope in the Lord. He cares for me. He is living and he will fulfill what he has promised. Brethren, we have a renewed hope this morning. Hope for the present.
Do you remember the time when Jesus’ disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee and they were about to drown in a terrible storm? Jesus knew that they were in that trouble and he came to them and they passed out of the storm. The storm had come to pass. My dear friend because Jesus rose from the grave, you can have hope for today. He is present today to give you deliverance. He is alive today to calm your storm. He is resurrected today to deliver you from your oppression. He lives today and he is with you even in the midst of the storm. There is hope for your today.
2. Hope for Tomorrow.
Easter is hope for tomorrow.
Illustration: The story is told of millionaire Eugene Land, who greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. “Stay in school,” he admonished, “and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you so that you can achieve your dream.” At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. ” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.
Once the disciples came to know the resurrection for sure, then it was the same message of resurrection they wanted to tell the whole world. Everything about them changed when they accepted the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They had a hope for their future and God used them mightily. They were even willing to lay down their life for the sake of the Gospel. It is believed that 10 of the 11 disciples were martyred for their faith. The disciples had renewed hope to face life.
Well when you accept that Jesus Christ died for your sins, when you ask for forgiveness of your sins, accept him as the Lord of your life. When you believe that Jesus Christ rose again from the grave, ascended to the Father and is presently in heaven, and he is in control; your faith is going to radically transform just as much as the disciples. You will be able to believe by faith the blessed future that God has for you.
I am sure that God has a blessed future for me. Today I may not be having my promises fulfilled, but I am sure Jesus is alive and he has as a great future for me. Jeremiah 29:11-13 11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
3. Hope for eternity.
Resurrection of Jesus authenticates hope beyond our death. 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15 teaches that not only did Jesus rise from the dead but those of us who know him as savior who died as all men and woman die at the end of this life on this earth, that there is a day coming, an appointed time in the end when we will rise from the grave.
Job in the midst of all his troubles in chapter 14 made reference to the grave and the change which would come after that time. Job 14:14 If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. Death is not final for a believer in Jesus Christ. There is an eternity and Jesus is the hope for eternity.
Job 19:25-27 25I know my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 26And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God: 27I myself will see him with my own eyes.
God has always made his people aware of life after death both in the OT and the NT. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who will fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
It is going to be a wonderful thing. There is an appointed time for resurrection. You will no longer face sickness in that body. There will never be fear of death again. There will not be the limitations which we face in this world. Our bodies will be like the body of Jesus when he came out of the grave. He enjoyed fellowship with his disciples in person. He let them reach out and touch him so they could feel the substance of his body. It was real. It was his body. And he ate with them. What a wonderful time he had. So it will be in the resurrection.
What does that have to do with us today?
a. A renewed body instead of a body prone to sickness.
Is it not obvious some of us today are in bodies which are touched terribly by illness or by disease or by limitations that we maybe have had since birth. Some of us are in bodies which are growing older and slowing down and we have aches and pains and do not have the energy which we once had. Dear friend, someday that body is going to be changed. There will be no more aches and pains. There will be no more sickness.
b. Reunion with our loved ones.
Do you have loved ones in the presence of Jesus today but whose bodies are planted in the grave? Someday you will see them in those bodies again and what a wonderful sight it will be. You will be able to hug them and kiss them and tell them how much you enjoy seeing them again and being with them. That is because Jesus rose just as he said he would.
c. Eternal hope for those who put their trust in Jesus.
Illustration: In 1815 England engaged in the Battle of Waterloo with Napoleon Buonaparte. The whole city of London was anxious to know how things were going on in the battlefield. All were wondering if England could defeat Napoleon and there was no way of knowing the news. Anxious to know the outcome, one man climbed on top of a great London cathedral with interceptors to catch the battle signals. When he received a message he waved his flags accordingly to give the people of London a report on the battle. Finally he got the outcome of the battle and he sat there on the roof and inscribed the message into the flag. The people were anxious to read the result. When the people of London looked up to see the writings on the big flag they could barely see through the fog. The message they were able to see was, “England defeated.” They could not believe it. Their hearts sank. But then there was a break in the fog and they saw the rest of the message which said, “England defeated Napoleon.” The entire nation of England rejoiced.
When Jesus died the message that came to the disciples heart was, “Jesus defeated.” When you fall down the message that Satan puts in your mind is that ‘You are defeated.’ But 3 days later, the fog cleared, and the message they received was, “Jesus defeated Satan.” See the entire message that God has for you.
You have hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for the future. You may have fallen or you may have failed, but the victory that God has purchased for you still applies, and you don’t have to feel defeated…you can get back up and have a fresh start!
Jesus is our risen hope. When we think about hope we think about something that might come to be or might not come to be. I hope I will get an admission. It may or may not. That is the not the meaning of the hope in the scripture. When the word hope is used in the NT, it speaks of something which will come to pass but it speaks of looking forward to it with anticipation because it is absolute certain.