Though our culture continues to drift — and sometimes dart — farther and farther from its religious heritage, we can see the unmistakable traces of faith in our holidays. Even those outside of the church still associate Easter with hope and new life. And this enduring connection offers each of us a wonderful opportunity to share “the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23) with those God has placed in our lives. In fact, we are instructed to be “ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).
According to Peter, we must both have hope and have a reason for our hope. One of the most powerful demonstrations of hope we can give is through how we handle hardship and suffering as we show our confidence that God is working all things for good and that we can trust Him no matter what. And the source of this hope is the work of the risen Christ (1 Cor. 15).
Beyond any of the everyday struggles or global atrocities in our world today, Jesus’ death on a Roman cross is the ultimate example of injustice and evil as God Himself was betrayed and killed by His own creation. And this all happened “according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23). Scripture makes clear that God used “both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against [His] holy servant Jesus, whom [He] anointed, to do whatever [His] hand and [His] will had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27-28).
Yet, God used the greatest act of evil in history — Jesus’ death — to bring about the greatest good — His glory and the redemption of humankind. If He did this, then we can take comfort and confidence from the knowledge that He is also using our difficulties and tragedies to bring about good, even when we can’t see how. And even more, Jesus was raised to life on the third day so that we could see death conquered once and for all.
This is the reason for the hope that is in you: a wooden cross and an empty tomb. Jesus didn’t just die for you. He rose from the grave for you — to give you hope. Because just as Jesus died and rose again, God promises that all who die believing in Jesus will be raised to everlasting life.
Christians are called to be people of hope (Eph. 4:4), and this hope should be most evident at this time of year as we celebrate the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus. Show this hope to others. Share the reason for your hope. And then invite others to know the peace and hope that can only come through Jesus.
— Josh Hall