Easter 2021 

April 4, 2021

“Hope is to our spirits what oxygen is to our lungs. Your spirit dies when hope dies. They may not bury your [body] for a while, but without hope you’re dead.” – Lewis Smedes

It doesn’t matter how hopeful the message is if it’s not truthful.

For the people who experienced the first Easter as recorded by all four of the gospel writers in the New Testament, it was not a warm, fuzzy, feel-good event at all.

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because the were afraid. (Mark 16:8)

in their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground. (Luke 24:5)

they were startled and frightened, thinking they had seen a ghost. (Luke 24:37)

“It is extremely strange, and extremely interesting, that at no stage do they [the resurrection narratives in the Gospels] mention the future hope of the Christians.” – Tom Wright

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O [grave], is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying…She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:11,14)

He asked her, “Women, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where toy have put him, and I will get him.” (John 20:15)

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brother and tell them…” (John 20:16-17)

“Any first-century historian should recognize…that whatever it was that the early Christians were expecting, wanting, hoping, and praying for, this was not what they said, after Easter, had happened…Something had happened, something which was not at all what they expected or hoped for, something around which they had to reconstruct their lives.” – Tom Wright

Does my life have meaning?

What does it all mean? Does it mean anything?

Jesus taught that your life has meaning because you were made by God and are loved by God and something inside us yearns to connect with God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (1 Peter 1:3)

Hope has a name and that name is Jesus.

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who dies-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us for the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… (Romans 8:31-35)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

What are you putting your hope in?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

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Discussion Questions