Your Hope Is Not In Vain by Rev. Shine. P. Thomas
Today the world celebrates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The message of resurrection has never been relevant to the modern world than it is right now. The events of Easter are relevant because they address man’s greatest and deepest fears. All of man’s fears are very high around the world right now. We live in a world of fear. Man is afraid of death and with the spread of Covid-19, the fear of death has been on an all-time high. We ask: Is everything going to be alright? Is my family going to be alright? Does God care about this situation? Does God care about me? What about my Job? What about my family? and w hat happens to life after death? Is there hope?
Your Hope Is Not In Vain
For our hopeless situations today, we have something to look back to the scripture at the first century Jesus followers. Jesus Christ came into this world and established a Jesus movement.
He started his public ministry by telling:
Mark 1:15 The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.
People started following him. Jesus attracted great masses of people.
Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.
The disciples of Jesus began to grow.
Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-twoothers and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
By now the Jesus movement is growing. People are flocking Jesus from all over. The teachers of the law are against Jesus. They are losing out on their popularity and people are following the Jesus Christ.
Remember what Jesus claimed himself to be while he was with his disciples? He was attributing to himself that only belonged to God.
When Jesus was anointed by a sinful woman at the house of Simon, Jesus said: Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus claimed to forgive sins. Luke 7:48 Only God could forgive sins.
Jesus said, “I am greater than the temple.” Matthew 12:6
Jesus said he was greater than Jonah or Solomon. Matthew 12:41-42
Jesus said he was living before Abraham was born. John 8:58
Jesus was constantly attributing to himself names that only God has. Overtime, the disciples were very convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.
Matthew 16:13-17 13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
The disciples chose to stay with Jesus in spite of the opposition because they knew he was their Messiah.
John talks about a time when Jesus feeds the people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The crowd is so big that they wanted to make Jesus the King. That is what kings did, feed the people. So Jesus and his disciples get into a boat and they travel across the southern end of the sea of Galilee, just to get away from the crowd. When they get out of the boat, the crowd has followed them. The people make their way through the edge of the sea of Galilee and reach the southern end of the sea of Galilee.
So Jesus has a crowd again. People are expecting Jesus to multiply bread again. So Jesus decides to teach. As Jesus is teaching Jesus says that he is the bread of life come down out of heaven. The problem is someone in the crowd raises their hand and said, “No you are not. We know your dad Joseph and your mother Mary. You did not come down out of heaven.” Jesus continues to teach and his teaching became very tough.
In fact, John says
John 6:66-69 66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
They were following Jesus because who they believed Jesus to be. Jesus is the Holy One of God. Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. In the mount of transfiguration they saw Jesus to be greater than Moses and Elijah.
They followed Jesus because of who Jesus claimed to be and because of what he taught and did. They had set their hopes on Jesus. The disciples let their profession and followed Jesus. He was their only hope.
Now Jesus is dead. Now Jesus is buried in the tomb. They thought they were wrong. They cannot understand this. If Jesus is the Holy One of God, if Jesus is the Messiah, the bread of life, how can God allow their Messiah, whom they were waiting for 1000’s of years to be executed by a foreign power?
They thought, “Oh! Jesus is not powerful. We watched him die and now he is buried.” All of his disciples expected Jesus to do what dead people usually do, stay dead, be in the grave. No hope.
Jesus died on the cross.
When Jesus died their hope died. After Jesus was arrested and crucified, everybody lost hope. The disciples when into hiding. There were a broken-hearted mother and some women. There were some confused Galilean fishermen and other disciples who thought that they had wasted a season of their life and there was no hope for them.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus go to Pilate. They ask for Jesus’ body. They take his body from the cross. Then They bury Jesus’ body in a tomb cut out of rock. This is the unused family tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. They roll a stone in front of it and they go home. That is it. It was all over for them. No one thought that Jesus and his teachings would go on after his death and burial.
They thought, “If Jesus could not keep himself alive, what was the point of holding on to his teachings. What is the point of being a disciple of Jesus if the master is dead?”
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.
Why did they go to the tomb? To anoint Jesus’ body. Because like everyone else, they expected Jesus to stay dead. You find no one standing outside the tomb on the first Easter morning expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. None of his disciples said, “I believed that Jesus will rise when he was in the grave.” None believed. They all stopped believed. They were without hope.
Btw, why did the women go early Easter morning to the grave? They went to prepare Jesus’ body.
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.
CONDITION OF THE DISCIPLES
John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders
Their leader had just been crucified as threat to Caesar and the Jewish system. Their fear is totally understandable.
Now Jesus has been buried.
They have a corrupt Jewish religious system,
A heartless Roman empire.
And They have a Roman governor, Pilate who cannot wait to get out of Jerusalem after Passover to his costal home.
We have some sad Galileans, fearful disciples. But there were no savior, no Jesus.
There is no hope. When Jesus died all their hope died with Jesus. There is no Christ, there is no hope. Then something happened that changed everything.
Then came that morning, that sealed the promise. His buried body began to breathe and out of the silence the roaring lion rose again from the grave. Jesus declared that grave has no claim on me.
Matthew 28:1-7 1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Jesus rose from the grave. This is the foundation of our Christian faith.
PROMISES OF RESURRECTION
In this first appearance to the disciples Jesus says three things. These three things turn out to be three gifts to us.
John 19:19-21 1 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Two times Jesus said, “Peace be with you”:
We don’t initiate peace with Jesus by our actions. Jesus initiates peace with us.
The apostle Paul who wrote 13 of those 21 New Testament letters explains it like this: Ephesians 2:14 He (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made us the two one (Jew and Gentile) and destroyed the barrier, the diving wall of hostility.
Ephesians 2:18 He (Jesus) came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near.
The peace that Jesus offers the disciples is peace that he accomplished when he died for them on the cross.
Isaiah 53:5 He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; he punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
See what Jesus said to his disciples: John 20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Here, look at my side and my hands. I made peace with these. Justice was satisfied with these.
Power by the Spirit. John 20:21-22 21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Because of the resurrection, we have the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:32-33 32God has raised Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the face. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
That happens about seven weeks after his resurrection. The work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives is that he makes us able to do what we are simply not able to do on our own. He gives us power.
“Jesus comes to us and gives us his peace with God.”
3. PURPOSE IN THE WORLD
John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Our Central Purpose for Existence comes from Jesus. Jesus comes to us and gives us his peace with God. Then he gives us power to do be fruitful in His Kingdom — like defeating our own selfishness, and loving other people, and treasuring Christ above all. And then with that peace and that power he gives us our central purpose for existence: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
4. PURPOSE FOR ETERNITY.
We have a bodily resurrection and we will live with Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Christ is standing in the midst of our fears. He gives us the gift of peace, the gift of power, and the gift of purpose. The opposite of peace is conflict. The opposite of power is weakness and the opposite of purpose is aimlessness. Peace with God, peace with you, and peace with others. Power to do what you need to do in life. The purpose is satisfying from beginning to end.
Which simply means that right now what you make of this message from this human messenger will decide whether you are forgiven or not. As an ambassador of Christ, I urge you be reconciled to God: receive as a free gift his peace, his power, his purpose. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
He is our peace.
John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus offers you that. I offer that on Jesus’ behalf. It is free. I hope you receive it.
There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest.
There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest… perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize?
The King chose the second picture. “Because,” explained the King, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”
Peace with God. Peace with others in Christ and with ourselves. And peace with the world. It was an amazing achievement.
You see, Peace is foundational. If we don’t have peace with God we will take all his other gifts and use them to try to make peace. And it never works. Peace is first. And it is free. Everything else is the effect of peace, not the cause. It is fruit. Peace is the root.