April 4 - Easter - Message Update

The Living Hope – Mark 16:1-8 – Pastor Eric

 

Have you ever had a really long week? Have you ever had a really difficult, hard, and grinding week?

 

I mean a week that you just hoped went away.  Well, if we compare our bad weeks to Jesus’ final week there is really no comparison. Jesus faced persecution, suffering, ridicule, betrayal, pain, and agony in His final week, and from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday hope seemed to be dead and lost.

 

Hope arose up from the grave for Christ was not dead, but He was alive. In doing so, Christ had conquered disappointment, death, and the destructive power of sin. 

 

The resurrection story offers us this life changing truth that the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a living hope beyond life’s hardest circumstances.  We receive a living hope beyond our worst moments and toughest trials. There will be bumps and bruises along the way of life, but the only way to live is in God’s promise of everlasting hope.

 

(1) The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a living hope beyond the disappointments of life. The risen Savior gives us a living hope when life doesn’t go the way that we hope or plan, and Jesus gives us hope for a better plan and future. (Mark 16:1-4)

 

Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb of Jesus, and one can only imagine their heartache, their grief, and their disappointment, for their leader is gone.  Hope lies almost dead, at the bottom of their crushed and broken hearts, for their Savior is no longer there. He is dead! 

 

These women arrive in awe, for the stone has rolled away.  It’s important to remember Jesus didn’t need to roll away the stone to resurrect from the dead, but the stone was rolled away to see that Jesus did resurrect from the dead. So, their disappointment fades away with the rolling of the stone. This proved Christ can and will overcome any of our disappointments.

 

The truth is that this world will disappoint you, that’s a guarantee, but the greater guarantee is that our God will never disappoint.  This powerful truth from Mark’s gospel is that Jesus offers us an eternity of goodness, not because we deserve it. The gospel informs us that we deserve the opposite, because of our sin. However, Jesus performed the greatest miracle of all time by His grace, to give us a real and living hope for a better today and future.

 

(2) The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a living hope beyond the fear of death.  The risen Savior gives us a living hope beyond death itself.  When we are afraid and scared over the violence in our streets and the virus in this world, Jesus offers us His assurance, for He is our rock and refuge from a raging world out of control. (Mark 16:5-6)

 

The stone is gone for the women to come in.  They come in to see with their own eyes that the body of Christ is nowhere to be found, and they are met by a messenger from God. 

 

The angel comforts these women from their fears and proclaims Christ has risen, for He is living upon the dead. He is the resurrected Savior of the World, who has emphatically overcome death and sin. Jesus is victorious, for He arose from the grave to be the living hope beyond the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

 

The solution to the fears of this world is not just more racial inclusion, good politics, human ingenuity and science, or a better justice system. These are good things, but they are not sufficient. The only solution is found in an empty tomb and a risen Savior.  The beauty of God’s hope is that it frees us from the fear of death.  Biblical hope is the liberating force of the gospel to relieve our hearts and minds from worry and anxiety. 

 

 

Gospel hope is the powerful medicine for the soul beyond any vaccine or medical treatment. The living hope of Christ is the love needed for inclusion in this world. The hope of the resurrection is the gift of salvation for every believer to be free from the curse, sin and death.

 

(3) The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a living hope beyond the failures of sin. The truth is that we are fallen and sinful people.  We have all offended God, but the risen Savior suffered and died for sinners. His resurrection shows His power over sin in order to offer us new life, so that your sin doesn’t have to determine your destiny, but the resurrection of Christ can determine your destiny. (Mark 16:7-8)

 

The women have seen the empty tomb, and they receive instruction to go and to share the good news. These women are the first eye witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, and this teaches us that every person can have a place in God’s kingdom and plan.

 

Further to this point of gospel inclusion is the angel’s specific mention of Peter.  This special nod to Peter hints at the resurrection’s power of restoration to Peter’s failures and denials.  The resurrection erases the failures of His followers.  This proclamation of good news is a transformation from a hopeless end to an endless hope of forgiveness and grace for anybody.

 

Thus, the continuation of the gospel story does not end at the tomb, but in Galilee with His failed and flawed disciples. The gospel story rests in the hands of fearful and sinful women, and the continuation of the gospel story is good news, because God choose the most unlikely people to carry out His life changing message; people like Mary and Peter.

 

The power of the resurrection empowers and beckons all of us to believe.  Believe that if Christ resurrected from the dead, then Christ can and will carry us through our darkest disappointments and our deepest failures.

 

So, you can come to Him as you are: heavy laden, imperfect, and down and out, and He will give you relief, forgiveness, and joy like no one can. Come entrust yourself to Christ, for He is the living hope beyond any circumstance of life.

 

Praise Songs:  Because He Lives, The Wonderful Cross, Living Hope, Lion and the Lamb, Doxology