We Have Hope Luke 24.13-35
-Jesus is permanently alive. Hebrews 7.24-25
-The resurrection of Jesus is essential for our salvation. 1 Corinthians 15.12-19.
-The resurrection is the source of our hope.
Two People and a Stranger
-On the road to Emmaus on Sunday afternoon they meet a stranger who asks them what they are talking about.
-The death of Christ, the testimony of the women about the empty tomb, angels and Jesus being alive. The testimony of some brothers who went to the empty tomb.
-Verse 21, “we had hoped”. Sad, disillusioned, confused. Jesus failed to deliver us from Rome and is dead.
-The loving rebuke. You are foolish and unbelieving.
-Instruction from God’s Word. The association of Jesus with the Messiah.
-Jesus is revealed to them as alive and their hope is renewed.
Hope Through the Resurrection of Jesus
1) Hope of eternal Life. More than a wish but an assurance by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus is the pattern for our future.
2) Hope for today and tomorrow. My future hope generates a present hope. Jesus is with me today and tomorrow. I pray to a living God. Hebrews 13.5-6, Because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow.
We have hope because God raised Jesus from the dead.
Spend time daily in God’s Word to renew your hope. Do not be foolish and unbelieving. Romans 15.13
We Have Hope Luke 24.13-35
Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Unlike the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is permanent. Jesus will never die again. We read in Hebrews 7.24-25, “Jesus holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them”. Jesus was put to death at the hands of cruel men, but God raised him from the dead and Jesus now lives forever.
The permanent resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is essential to our salvation. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead we have no salvation, a useless faith, we are still in our sins, preaching has no point, we make God a liar, and we have no hope beyond death. Good Friday is only good because Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday. The blood of Jesus Christ, given as a payment to God for the penalty and forgiveness of sins, was declared acceptable by God when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead Christianity is no different from any other religious/ethical/man made/ belief system. Christianity has the power to forgive sin, release a person from the penalty of sin, make him righteous before God, and give him eternal life, only because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Today we celebrate the power of God at work in raising Jesus from the dead, and the life giving, life transforming, destiny changing, power of God at work in our lives. Praise God that He raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
So the resurrection, and the power of God demonstrated in the resurrection, is essential for our salvation and for God’s work of spiritual life and growth in our life. Another very important benefit of the resurrection for each one of us is hope. That is what I want to look at more fully this morning.
In the story we read, we find two people walking away from Jerusalem, heading to their home in Emmaus. It is Sunday early afternoon. They meet a stranger on the road who asks them what they are talking about. They tell the stranger that they are talking about the crucifixion of Christ which took place on Friday. They are also talking about some of their women friends who went to the tomb of Christ early that morning and found the tomb empty and saw some angels that said that Jesus was alive. They are also talking about others from their group who went to the tomb and found the tomb empty but did not see Jesus or any angels.
In verse 21, we are told how these two people feel. Speaking for both of them one of them says, “we had hoped that he (Jesus) was the one to redeem Israel”. They were sad. They were disillusioned. They were confused. They had lost hope. They had set their hope on Jesus, a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, to rescue Israel from their Roman oppressors and establish the kingdom of God. Instead Jesus was crucified and dead. Their hopes were dashed and now they were heading home in sadness and discouragement.
As Jesus walks along with them and listens to them confess their sadness and loss of hope, his loving and merciful response is to rebuke them, “O foolish ones, and slow in heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Rebuke may seem like a cruel way to comfort and renew loss hope but Jesus knows that their hope can only be renewed by understanding the purpose of God in the death of Jesus, and by discovering that Jesus is alive. So Jesus points them to the Bible and explains to them that the Messiah (the Christ in Greek) must die in order to fulfill the purpose of God. Here Jesus gives meaning to the death of Jesus and helps them to understand that Jesus is more than a prophet. Jesus is God’s promised Messiah. In understanding that God’s purpose is being fulfilled in the death of Christ and that Jesus is the Messiah, their hope is renewed.
We can easily be foolish ones in our hopeless times. We too are slow of heart to believe the Word of God and trust God in our times of need. We too fail to understand God’s purposes from His Word and do not trust in God in our hopeless circumstances and times of need. We are so self-reliant that trusting God and seeking answers from God’s Word is just not practical and does not work. We need to figure it out ourselves and work it out with our own resources. How foolish, how unbelieving that is. We need God’s loving rebuke in order to renew our hope. Let me propose to you this morning that the resurrected Christ and the Word of God are what you need to maintain hope and joy in a world that is quickly falling apart.
As evening approached and these two people and Jesus came near to Emmaus, Jesus made like he was going to continue on. These two people asked Jesus to stay the night with them and Jesus agreed. As they sat down to eat, Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to them. In an instant they recognized that the stranger with them was the resurrected Jesus. Then he disappeared from their sight. Jesus no longer needed to be physically with them for their hope was renewed by the knowledge that Jesus was alive and by their understanding that it was God’s purpose for Jesus to die on a cross. At that very moment they returned to Jerusalem with hope bursting in them. When they arrived they discovered that the other disciples also knew that Jesus had risen from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus changed their sad and hopeless circumstances into hope.
When a person looses hope, they loose their reason for living. Hope rises when we expect a better future ahead. Hope dies when we see no possibility for a better future. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is our assurance of a better future ahead.
1) First we have the sure hope of eternal life. Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who are not sure that they are born again, and do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them, only have a wish to go to heaven. Those who know that they belong to God because they realize that as sinners they cannot save themselves, and have asked God to save them based on the truth that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, have the assurance in their spirit that they are going to heaven. That assurance which comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit generates the sure hope of eternal life. Eternal life is the promise of a future in the presence of God.
The permanent resurrection of Jesus Christ points to our hope of new resurrection bodies, in a new environment where there is no more pain, sorrow, sickness, bills, evil, sin, loneliness, depression and whatever else you want to put on the list. Jesus is the pattern for our eternal hope. The resurrection with new bodies in heaven for eternity is a great hope.
If you are still living with a wish for heaven based on your own goodness before a Holy God then you do not have much hope for the future. Today God offers you a sure hope in Jesus Christ. Like the two people walking to the village of Emmaus, let Jesus lead you through the Bible and explain to you why he came, and why he died, and why he rose from the dead. Let God give you the greatest hope a person can have, the hope of eternal life.
2) Not only does the resurrection give us hope for eternity after we die but it also gives us hope for today and tomorrow. My hope of eternal life is a motivating hope for today. Because I expect a better future ahead I am empowered to press through my present circumstances. My future hope influences my present hope. I have hope for today because I have hope for tomorrow.
Not only does my future hope give hope in my present circumstances but the reality of Jesus being alive and with me each day brings great hope. Jesus promises to be with me always and in all my circumstances. Jesus knows where I am and what I am going through and how I feel. Like Jesus walked with the two on the road to Emmaus so Jesus walks with me each day and his resurrection presence produces hope for the day.
Knowing that Jesus is alive encourages me to come to him in prayer for guidance, strength, the fruit of the Spirit, confession and forgiveness. The resurrection of Jesus is proof of the words recorded in Hebrews 13.5-6…
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”
On Wednesday at prayer meeting we sang the song “Because He Lives”. The chorus says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future; and life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
We do not know what tomorrow will bring our way. Tomorrow may mean sickness and even death. It may mean trials and discouraging circumstances. It may mean financial struggles and sudden reversals of good expectations. It may mean facing a difficult decision or a difficult task. It may mean loss of a relationship or making a new relationship. Because Jesus lives, because Jesus loves you, because you belong to him, you can have hope in the darkest circumstances. Where there is no earthly hope in sight, you can have unshakable hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus holds today and tomorrow in his hands, and he holds you in his hands.
The resurrection is God’s guarantee of a future hope which brings the guarantee of present hope, which should bring hope to the heart of every believer.
Let me close by encouraging each one of you to spend time daily in God’s Word in order to renew your hope. In the Word of God you will be reminded about the character of God, both that God is Holy and hates sin and that He is a God of Love and Grace and Mercy. The Word of God will remind you that God is Sovereign and rules over your circumstances. Getting to know God brings hope when you are rightly related to God in Jesus Christ.
The Word of God will remind you of God’s purposes in Jesus Christ and of God’s work in Jesus Christ and this brings hope. The world is not out of God’s control but fulfilling God’s ordered plan. Knowing that and seeing how God has detailed His purposes in the Bible, will give you hope in a hopeless world. The Word of God will also remind you that Jesus is alive and victorious and Lord over all creation.
The Word of God will remind you of your need of God and of your dependence on God for life in Jesus Christ. The Word of God is a mirror that reflects to us both our sin and our salvation in Jesus Christ. There is great hope in knowing who we are before God and that He fully loves and accepts us in Jesus Christ.
Romans 15.4 says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The Scriptures instruct us and encourage us so that hope might be regularly stirred up in us.
Because Jesus is alive; Because God is Sovereign over this world; Because we have a future with God – We must walk in hope. We are to be a people of hope because God has raised Jesus from the dead.
I leave you with Paul’s blessing from Romans 15.13