Easter - ONE HOPE



Life and faith are messy things. The Bible contains the one of the most incredible collections of people who put FUN in dysfunctional. Going back to the beginning we find…

Noah liked to drink adult beverages.
Abraham was too old.
Isaac was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused.
Moses had a stuttering problem.
Miriam was a gossip.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Sampson had long hair.
Gideon was afraid.
Naomi was a widow.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
Solomon was too rich.
Jonah ran from God.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out and suicidal.
Peter had a big mouth.
John was self-righteous.
Paul was a murderer.
Timothy had ulcers.
Titus was too young.
Thomas doubted.
John the Baptist ate bugs…
Martha was a worrywart.
Mary was lazy.
Lazarus was dead.

To top it off – Jesus was crucified, dead and buried. So if it couldn’t get any messier...
Mark 16:1-7 GNB After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. (2) Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. (3) On the way they said to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. (4) (SEE 16:3) (5) So they entered the tomb, where they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe---and they were alarmed. (6) "Don't be alarmed," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here---he has been raised! Look, here is the place where he was placed. (7) Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: 'He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him, just as he told you.'

What a mess! The gospel goes on to talk about the questions and doubts these early disciples struggled with even when faced with the risen Jesus Christ. And today, we live in a world governed by emotions and the heart and that heart is precisely the problem Jeremiah wrote when he said: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9)”

As long as we put our trust merely in our hearts and our feelings, then like Bono sang, we may not find hope even in the message of the church.

Hope is not to be found in government. Hope is not found in military might. Hope will not be found on the internet or next door. Hope is not found in education or diplomas. Hope will not be found in a better job or promotion. Hope is not in your career or your 401K. Hope will not be found at a doctor’s office or on a street corner. And Hope is not to be found in our own hearts.

I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world. Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords; he has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next. God put all things under Christ's feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere. (Eph 1:18-23)

In Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament, there was no word for Hope yet it was hope that echoed all around it – especially in those who trusted in God. In the Greek, the language of the New Testament, hope became a word which can actually sum up all of the meaning for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

But practically speaking, hope is more than an eternal life after death or peace in this present day. It isn’t going to be found in just tradition, or just in reason, or just in experience and it is the Bible that points to hope – to Easter and Jesus’ resurrection.

Hope believes the tomb is empty for good reason…
Hope believes the same power that raised Jesus IS working in us…
Hope believes Jesus was, is and always will be going ahead of you…

When the nurse told me on the phone that Saturday morning in January to go immediately to the Emergency Room, I knew. I knew it was cancer, the doctors only confirmed it. I also knew I had hope and not because of anything or anyone. I had hope because of the young man’s words at the tomb: “He is going…ahead of you.”

Jesus Christ is the one hope and Paul said that hope lives within the church. No, not in some building – but in the lives and actions of all those who seek to connect, follow and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus is still going ahead of us because if we look we see him in the start of new churches like Crossroads and other around the world. It is when we see Jesus in our mess and know that he meets us there and in every mess we’ve ever made.

This Easter, you can have hope! Jesus has risen and he is going ahead of you and if you desire, today, that hope can begin working in you if you believe Jesus is who he says.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is great, almost brilliant. Cheers. Master Jedi-Robe. http://www.jedi-robe.com

scott m said...

One of the best sermons I've heard, and the music supporting it was simply ROCKIN'. Excellent work finishing up the "messy" series with the message of HOPE on Easter Pastor Ken. Truly the ONE place we can be cleansed from our messes, the place where grace lives and sins are forgiven... the cross, the tomb and our risen Savior! Thanks for sharing your gifts with us!

Scott

JediPastorKen said...

Master Jedi-Robe - thanks again for stopping by! I've got to get that Obi-wan costume. ;)

Scott M. - Thank you for all your support but especially your friendship and encouragement! I'm looking forward to all God has in store for us and our community through.

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