For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Easter. Today we are filled with a renewed hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is risen! Church declare: He is risen indeed!
Early in the morning on the third day after Jesus’ death, a woman named Mary Magdalene made her way to the tomb. Other places in the scriptures tell us that she had gone to anoint His body for burial. When she arrives, she finds the tomb empty. She saw insult added to the pain of the injury she was already feeling. Mary concludes that someone must have come and taken Him away. She is devastated. She runs to tell the others. She needs to share her hurt with those closest to her crucified Lord. They run to the tomb and find it empty except for Jesus’ burial cloths.
They didn’t quite get it yet. The shock of the past days and their fears got in the way for a moment. They forgot the lessons Jesus taught about His death and resurrection; the way He prepared them for all these events.
They were like children searching for eggs in the yard, searching the horizon for God’s subtle signs of hope, and all still a mystery to them.
Jesus would not leave them there in pain and sorrow, in confusion, just searching without finding. Soon the rollercoaster of reports and experiences of the risen Lord would bring the reality of the resurrection home to them. Soon, fear would be replaced by hope and the hope flowing from the resurrection would set them free.
Easter is a permanent reminder that God is in the business of awakening hope within us, that He brings life out of death, and that He offers us a future filled with assurance. In Him we are assured of finding, of not being left in pain and sadness.
We now, because of the ministry of those who firsthand experienced the resurrected Lord, know much more fully the hope we own. Their hope inspired freedom would move them to draw many into the Kingdom life. We are the beneficiaries of their witness, and we too are now witnesses before the world.
Our hope is in this: Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross set us free from captivity to sin. Our hope is in this: We will be resurrected as Jesus was. We will be glorified in our bodies and enter the great joy that is heaven, live life with God forever in the very same glorified way Jesus showed forth.
What Mary, Peter, and John did not immediately get is the powerful revelation that is our hope, that if Jesus can overcome death, there is nothing in our lives that He cannot defeat and overcome.