Yesterday was Easter. For Christians, it is known as Resurrection Sunday. Though my husband and I have not been attending any particular church on a regular basis, yesterday was one of those days we chose to go and pay a visit to a church we’d never visited before.
What if Jesus…
The church was full of men, women and children, young families, singles, and the elderly. New people, in any church, are always spotted. We stick out no matter how large a congregation. Such was our case and one of the elders or leaders in the church introduced himself to us once we sat down. The usual probing questions were asked; where are you from, where do you work and do you have any children?
Personally, I do not like these social moments. I prefer to be left to myself, but I nodded and smiled and asked a few probing questions of Josh. He seemed to prefer talking to my husband. Finally, the service began, or so I thought. Actually, it was just a little prelude and then we were given five more minutes to meet and greet and once again, feel awkward.
Finally though, what I’d been waiting for, the pastor and preaching took center stage. Of course the message was about Jesus and his resurrection, but also the pastor posed an interesting question; What if Jesus had not risen from the dead? What would that have meant?
He made the point that we are 2,000 years past the crucifixion, and unlike those who witnessed Jesus’ bloodied body nailed to a Roman cross, we know the story. At the time, to those eyewitnesses, the circumstances looked grim. Though Jesus was not the only man who had ever been condemned to die on a cross, he was the only one who proclaimed that he’d rise again from the dead.
I can’t imagine how it looked or felt for those who stood by and watched as their hope for any sort of victorious life, present or future, literally died a slow death in front of their eyes. They’d followed this man for years. They’d left jobs and family with the faith that where Jesus was leading them was worth leaving everything they’d ever known.
I doubt they expected to be led to the foot of a cross, to watch him breathe his last breath and watch his lifeless body being removed from the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb. Any prospect of a resurrection looked hopeless. And if that had been the end of the story, none of us would have any prospect of hope for our futures either.
Thankfully, the in-between time, from his death to his resurrection, was only a time when hope was suspended, not dashed. He rose again, just as he said he would and the disbelief of those who’d watched him die was turned into belief. Their doubts turned into faith.
What would have happened if Jesus had never risen from the dead? There would be no such thing as promises kept, a new life to live or eternity with Someone who’d defeated death.
Why bother to keep hoping. The reason I bother to keep hoping is because although there is a period of time in-between the promise and its fulfillment, God always fulfills whatever he promises.