The resurrection is the foundation upon which we build our hope.
There is unusual story in the Gospel of Luke that took place on Resurrection Sunday. What an incredible day! Jesus had risen from the dead. Mary and some of the women had gone to the tomb to see him, but his body was no longer there. The angels talked to the women.
A bit later, two disciples were walking to Emmaus from the city of Jerusalem. It’s just a short distance of about seven miles. In Emmaus, the resurrected Jesus joined them on the road but they didn’t recognize him. Jesus noticed they were in earnest discussion about something important, so he asked them what they were talking about. They unfolded the story to him in a big hurry. They asked Jesus, “Are you aware of what just happened in Jerusalem?” They had seen Jesus die on the cross, and likely at that point all hope was gone for them. The hope of the resurrection was not even in their thinking.
As they continued with their story, they reached the part where a rumor had come from some of the women that perhaps Jesus had risen from the dead. They then said to Jesus, “We were hoping that Jesus had come from God as the Messiah to redeem us. That’s what we were hoping. Now, our hopes are dashed. We’ve seen him dead…but now there is news of resurrection.”
Later in the story, Jesus ate a meal with these two disciples, and up until this point they still had not recognized him. As they spent time together, though, the disciples suddenly had an ah-ha moment and finally recognized him. At that very second, Jesus disappeared from their table. One moment they were breaking bread together, having a bite to eat, and the next moment Jesus was gone from the table.
One has to wonder what must have gone their minds in those moments with Jesus and immediately after he left them. Just as their eyes fully opened, he disappeared from their presence. It was clear they had some level of wishful thinking about Jesus as the Messiah, their Redeemer. Did that level of hope change when he left them? Did true hope come alive in them?
Hope must have exploded inside their hearts because they immediately rushed back to tell the others they had seen Jesus! “Weren’t our hearts burning within us when he explained to us the scriptures?”
It’s important to see how the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation for all hope. If Jesus rose from the dead, then we have eternal hope and nothing can ever take it away. If Jesus was crucified and did not rise from the dead, our hope in a Savior is only wishful thinking. The later kind of hope is not life-transforming.
Wow. What a message! If we do not have hope in the resurrection of Jesus, then we don’t have hope at all. At best, we have only wishful thinking. Our hope, our confident expectation of the goodness of God, is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Messiah.
He is alive today!