Easter Sunday offers us hope in a hopeless world.
In spite of cultural improvements, the world seems hopelessly corrupt, violent, and greedy, and it has always been that way. From the Old Testament to the current day, we see too much violence and corruption; there is nothing new under the sun. I recently read One Summer by Bill Bryson about the summer of 1927 and was amazed at the racism, antisemitism and blatant corruption that it recounted. Society has improved in many ways, but evil finds inventive and sometimes more subtle ways to corrupt individuals, culture, government and institutions.
Understanding what happened the first Easter weekend, the unexpected death and resurrection of a humble man who was born to two nobodies, worked as a carpenter, befriended those who were rejected by the elite, miraculously restored health, calmed waters, raised the dead to life, and submitted to a cruel death on Friday to rise to life on Sunday gives us the definition of love, salvation, peace, transformation, joy and much more. But this year, I’m focused on hope.
So, how does Easter provide hope?
Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God, as he declared at the beginning of his ministry, “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15) God’s kingdom is very different from our kingdoms, as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus proved. He rejected all that the world had to offer and instead died a humiliating death. He did it willingly and lovingly. For us. Jesus defeated sin and death by dying in our place and his resurrection proved that “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Acts 2:24
The Kingdom of God exists in the world, but it is not yet fully present. The resurrection of Jesus means, without a doubt, that God is quite capable of resurrecting individuals and kingdoms. It might seem a stretch to say that, but Revelation tells us that we will live in a new heaven and a new earth after evil is firmly and finally destroyed forever.
It’s hard to imagine the earth without evil and its effects: poverty, war, oppression, prejudice, disease, pollution, and death, just to name a few. But that’s the glorious end of the story. Christians in Ukraine, refugees all over the world, those living in poverty, and victims of corruption and oppression, among others, are waiting in hope for the day when we will enter the Kingdom of God in full.
It is far beyond my imagination, but I’m looking forward to that day. The weekend of Good Friday through Easter is the climax of the biblical narrative and proves that Jesus is God, that his death and resurrection were the plan all along, and that there is an eternity of better life ahead of us.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV)