What a joy to celebrate Easter with you! This is the Sunday that makes our relationship with our Heavenly Father perfect—all is forgiven. This is the Sunday that makes Jesus’s sacrifice enough and complete, once and for all. This is the Sunday we rejoice because our eternal home in Heaven is secure—forever. We are filled with a living hope because Jesus IS our living hope!
But think back to that first Easter Sunday—there was confusion and mystery. There were conflicting statements.
“We saw the angels!” “No, not possible.”
“Jesus is alive!” “No, it isn’t true. We saw him dIe.”
The women who witnessed the empty tomb were dismissed as unreliable. Even Peter and John weren’t convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead. Luke 24:12 tells us that “Peter went home again, wondering what had happened.”
Jesus allows his disciples and closest friends to struggle with a huge problem—where is Jesus? Is he really alive? Later that Resurrection Sunday, two followers of Jesus were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and Jesus shows up. He walks the seven miles with these followers of his, and as they are about to eat dinner together, Jesus blesses the meal, and suddenly, their eyes are opened. They realize the man who walked the entire way with them was Jesus! And at that moment, Jesus disappears!
Of course, those two believers walk all the way back to Jerusalem, another seven miles, and tell their story to all the disciples gathered there. And suddenly, Jesus appears, standing there among them and says, “Peace be with you.” The Bible tells us, “the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!” (Luke 24:36-37)
The closest friends of Jesus had doubts. They were afraid. They were confused, but they still gathered together. They still had hope and waited for Jesus to explain everything, and that is just what Jesus did. Luke tells us that Jesus comforted this friends, “Why are you frightened? Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” (Luke 24:38-39)
Today, you too may have doubts or be afraid or maybe just confused. You’ve lost a loved one, and you feel unsure of hope. The giver of all hope fills us with a living hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! That living hope is our Savior, our Sacrifice—for the forgiveness of our sins. All is finished correctly, just as God promised long ago:
Hung on a cursed tree, suffering slowly till death came.
Father knew the agony, rejection, ad the shame.
God knew one more obstacle that Christ must overcome.
Death could hold no victory—hold no one ransom.
God planned a fabulous finish: the debt, Paid in Full!
God raised His Son—from death’s grip He did pull.
What a glorious morning, an empty tomb was the place
Where God knew for certain, His plan He’d call Grace.