Our Only Hope in Life & Death // Easter 2018

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
-Luke 24:1–7 (ESV)

Since December, I’ve attended several funerals and memorials, being directly involved in two, and even in the presence of one friend’s passing. Many have lost loved ones in our church family and among childhood friends, and I’m aware of others going through similar times of loss, or who have in recent memory.

Death isn’t something most of us linger on unless we’re confronted with it in some way, and for good reason. We say it’s “part of life,” but it doesn’t feel right when it hits us. It’s something we all know will happen, but remains impossible to “get used to.” Even if we somehow numb ourselves or explain it away, one day it will sting our emotions again when it becomes personal, for us or someone we love. If we’re honest, death feels like an enemy, because it is.

That’s why I’m so excited for the hope celebrated at Easter. Remembering the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives reason to celebrate the ultimate hope, even in the face of death.

In His life, Jesus defeats death by choosing the way of life, living just as God says we should. The rest of us prefer to do things our own way, fracturing our relationships with God and others. This is the hopeless way of separation, and the ultimate separation is death.

In His death, Jesus meets death head on. He did nothing wrong. He doesn’t deserve it. But He’s willing to take what we deserve instead, to experience that ultimate separation Himself so, hopefully, we won’t have to.

In His resurrection,
Jesus soundly defeats death. The enemy is conquered. It can’t keep Him down. And His return to life and restored body shows us a better life might be possible for us. We can have hope for resurrection and restoration as well.

Now Jesus invites you and me to His way of life, to a restored relationship with God, to a place where death no longer has its sting or any lasting power over us. Taking that invitation, trusting Him, changes the way we understand life and death, giving a hope that can’t be broken because Jesus, who was broken and died, is very much alive.

It’s my prayer that you come to know the hope of life in Jesus in ways you never before imagined. And if you are one of the many who has recently lost a loved one, I pray you’ll find comfort in Him as well.
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