By Lee Strobel, posted September 14, 2019 in Investigating the Faith with Lee Strobel, a weekly devotional at: http://www.biblegateway.com
I Peter 1:3 — In his great mercy [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
“Where is the hope?” asked Christian statesman Chuck Colson. “I meet thousands who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things we do as a nation.”
Then where is the hope? In spite of how frequently people banter about hope, this is still a challenging question. Colson pointed out that hope is not to be found in government, laws, or a renewed sense of national pride. And hope doesn’t come from mere wishful thinking, blind optimism, or hopeful dreams. And, as it turns out, hope is an elusive commodity in most of the popular worldviews and religious options as well.
Thankfully, we have a good answer that is grounded not in wishful thinking, but in a historical event that gives us a solid reason to trust God for better things ahead, both in this life and the next. Specifically, I’m talking about the resurrection of Jesus.
If you read and reflect on the Gospel accounts about Jesus, you’ll soon realize that he was a walking dispenser of hope! He lived a life that instilled in his followers the hope that they could find greater meaning and purpose in their lives. He spread tangible hope as he healed the broken hearts and diseased bodies of countless people. He embodied hope for our earthly lives, and he promised a hope-filled existence in heaven for eternity to those who would trust and follow him.
And when Jesus was challenged to explain the reasons for such hope, he staked it all on one imminent event: “Destroy this temple,” he said, “and I will raise it again in three days.” John explained in his gospel that the “temple [Jesus] had spoken of was his body” (John 2:19, 21). He was predicting not only his death, but also and especially his resurrection from the dead three days later.
So for Jesus’ followers, both then and now, the Easter miracle is the make-or-break event. Either Jesus would rise from the dead, proving he was who he said he was and could do what he promised to do, or he would not, and he would be exposed as a fraud who was spreading false hope.
See why the resurrection is so important? That’s why it’s the lynchpin of Christianity. Said the apostle Paul: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins . . . . If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19).
Thankfully, Paul didn’t stop there! He went on to declare, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20–22, emphasis mine).
The resurrection of Jesus is a powerful and miraculous event on which we can confidently pin our hopes.
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)