I love Lent, Holy Week and Easter more than any other time of the year. I deeply appreciate the weeks of preparation leading up to Easter. I love Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Easter sunrise service and the Easter services that follow.
This is a time of intense and passionate worship as well as a time of more personal reflection and devotion and in the midst of it all, I find my faith renewed and strengthened.
I don’t even mind the stories of eggs and bunnies because in the end, we all know that Easter is really about Jesus and the victory of the cross over death. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices hey had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.
They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.
They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.
But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head. (Luke 24:1-12)
Peter walks away puzzled but he would see the risen Christ in person. The course of history was about to change. Christ died and rose again to show us the way.
The women arrived early to apply spices to a body lying in a tomb. They came out of devotion, a sense of duty. They came to care for they dead but they would leave forever changed. Instead of a body, they would see the stone rolled away, an empty grave and two angels announcing Christ’s resurrection.
If there is one word that applies on Easter morning, the word would be… HOPE!
Hope starts with the women and spreads to Peter and to the disciples and finally to thousands of others as they too discover that Jesus Christ is alive.
Easter is about restoring hope. Hope is a powerful word. John Maxwell wrote this about hope:
- Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
- Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
- Hope energizes when the body is tired.
- Hope sweetens while the bitterness bites.
- Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
- Hope believes when the evidence is limited.
- Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
- Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
- Hope endures hardship when no one is caring.
- Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
- Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
- Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
- Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
- Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.
There’s nothing to do but bury a person when his or her hopes are gone. Losing hope usually precedes loss of life itself. You don’t need a better environment — you just need more hope. It’s the one thing in your life you can’t do without.
Easter Sunday provides the gift of hope and that is the greatest gift of all.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.