There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
~In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
The word “hope” appears at least 161 times in Scripture. This was not surprising to me. What I did find surprising was how many times the word appears in the book of Job—eighteen times! I didn’t expect Job, the man made famous for his extreme sufferings, to talk much about hope. Although, he is truly lamenting over the absence of his own hope. He cries out in Job 17:15, “Where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?” Hope. Such a tiny word, but so powerful when held, stood just out of his grasp.
David, too, cried out for hope. In the midst of trouble and in times of peril, he was reminded where to turn his focus. “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Psalm39:7). He was filled with great longing, and like so many others, David held tightly to promises of what was to come. “[A] common Hebrew word translated as hope is yachal. Yachal means to wait expectantly. It is to patiently endure because of the assurance of what was coming” (Chuck McKnight, “What is the Biblical View of Hope?”).
“For [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. . . . These all [Abraham and other heroes of faith] died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
Hebrews 11:10, 13
Abraham, Job, David–they all died before they saw their faith, their hope became sight. That night that Jesus was arrested and beaten, how afraid Jesus’ followers must have been. Still, I can’t help but wonder if, like Peter, they followed from afar waiting for Jesus to show Himself mighty once again. Because they did not understand what He had come to do, maybe they expected Him to escape or to fight back. What terror, what grief, what doubt they must have experienced hours later, when their Savior stood dying on a cross. Then it all went black. Their hope was gone. What was left? As the women made their way to the tomb that morning in the predawn hours only two days later, I can imagine their eyes were swollen from weeping and their hearts aching in desperation. They would do this last thing, bring Him honor in death, and then it was all over and their hope was no more . . . or so they thought.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
~Lamentations 3:21-24 (emphasis mine)
As they neared the tomb that morning, they heard birds beginning to sing. As the sun crested the hill, it felt warm on their faces. The wind rustling through the trees sounded like the whisper of a friend. Across the sky was painted the most beautiful colors. And then they saw it. The stone in front of the tomb had been rolled away from the entrance. Rushing on ahead and quickly peering inside, they found it empty! Their hearts sank! What happened? Someone stole the His body! They couldn’t even let their Lord lay in peace! But wait! Like the night of His birth, the angels brought glorious news! He is not dead, but He is risen! Jesus is ALIVE!! Hope is real, and it is glorious!
“The Biblical definition of hope has nothing to do with a personal wish or vague desire. Rather, our hope is an absolute assurance. We are to have unwavering confidence in Jesus . . .” (McKnight). Paul reminds us in Romans why this hope is so important: “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). God’s plan plus Christ’s victory equals our hope. If not for Christ’s death and resurrection, we would have no hope in this world or in the next. Because . . . “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6 NLT, emphasis mine). He came for us. He gave us a new, restored hope. And He is making all things new (see Revelation 21:5).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”
~1 Peter 1:3
This Easter, if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, celebrate the risen Savior! Celebrate the resurrection knowing it is His gift that has brought you hope! We do not have to leave in defeat. Though we face many battles and our outer man is wasting away, let us take a moment and renew our souls (see 2 Corinthians 4:16). Rejoice! The tomb is empty and God is NOT dead! He lives, and because He lives, we can live, too!
If you don’t know my Jesus, let me you invite you to welcome Him into your life today! You can stop standing on the outside, looking in and wondering about it all. You can know Him today. I promise you will never regret it. I cannot tell you that it will be easy and there won’t be days that you will feel like giving up. However I can tell you that the hope is real. It is not just wishful thinking. Jesus Christ was born, lived a sinless life, died for my (and your) shame and lives again! One day I (and I pray you as well) will see Him face to face! Hallelujah!
“For I know that my Redeemer lives”
McKnight, Chuck. “What is the Biblical View of Hope? Biblical Authority Devotional: Faith, Hope, and Love, Part 5.” (June 14, 2011). Answersingenesis.org. April 14, 2014 http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/06/14/biblical-view-of-hope