“Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present” (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope).
That was the topic of today’s sermon at The Church at Avenue South– that after being crucified and buried, Jesus actually and physically rose from the grave.
The Apostle Paul says that if Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then our faith is useless and futile and we are all still dead in our sins.
If there is no resurrection, then Jesus’ death was meaningless and He wasn’t who He claimed to be, but just another in a long line of those so-called “Messiahs” whose words were forgotten and whose followers immediately abandoned them after death to look for the newest “Messiah.”
But Jesus stepped out of the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, forever proving that He is the ultimate God-Man, Savior of the world, the true Messiah.
Our hope is in more than a great teacher who gave us some great ideals to live by before he died. It’s in more than Jesus being “resurrected” by keeping His memory alive in the hearts of His disciples.
Our hope is in the Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf and died on the cross, then bodily rose from the grave and appeared to the apostles as well as over 500 other witnesses.
Because Jesus lives, our hope is alive. Because He lives, we live and can face any tomorrow that comes. Because He lives, we know that there is nothing that comes up against us– illness, death, or the grave– that can separate us from the love He has for us.
“We could cope—the world could cope—with a Jesus who ultimately remains a wonderful idea inside his disciples’ minds and hearts. The world cannot cope with a Jesus who comes out of the tomb, who inaugurates God’s new creation right in the middle of the old one” (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope).