Many words could express the message of Easter to people, but the word I want to remind you of this year is ‘Hope’. However, hope is an often misused word in our world today. My dictionary definition talks about hope being a desire, e.g. I hope the weather is fine tomorrow; or a probability or promise. But people may not keep their promises, and anything less than a probability of one is uncertain. These definitions of the word do not pay justice to the Biblical view of ‘Hope’.
The Biblical view of ‘Hope’
In the Bible people are encouraged to put their ‘hope in God’ (Psalm 42 verse 5). In the prophets those who ‘hope in the Lord’ will renew their strength (Isaiah 40 verse 31) and will have a future (Jeremiah 29 verse 11). But very often ‘hope’ is linked with ‘faith’ (1 Corinthians 13 verse 13) and endurance (1 Thessalonians 1 verse 3). Yet ‘hope’ is not a vague notion of desire or possibility. It is something that is more certain than that. It is based on the promises of God which are always fulfilled, and the evidence of God’s power in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Hence, the writer to the Hebrews can say ‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11 verse 1).
One very practical implication of this is evident as I visit people who are sick in hospital or at home, especially people with terminal illnesses. For it is our ‘hope’ as Christians that gives us strength to face the future, whether our immediate future lies in this life or in life beyond the grave. Also, ‘hope’ gives mourning families at a funeral visit the courage to continue in life following the sad loss of a loved one. ‘Hope’ provides a reason to carry on for those who feel they are facing a storm in this life following the break-up of a marriage or relationship, the loss of a job, or a change in life circumstances, and it is ‘hope’ that brings new meaning to a life that has been lived without God.
Discover afresh how Jesus’ resurrection can bring you ‘hope’ in God this Easter and may you all have a blessed Easter as you seek to put your ‘hope’ in our great God.