Everything that you had known has been obliterated. It is the third day since the guy you were convinced was the Messiah was brutally killed. You left your job and spent most of the last three years apart from your family. But the miracles you witnessed and the teaching that contained so much authority convinced you that Jesus was who he claimed to be: the promised savior of Israel.
That was until the Jewish leaders arrested him and had him murdered by the Romans. Hopes of a restored nation– gone. Hopes of a restored creation– gone. Hope of a restored relationship with God– gone. In fact, the hope that propelled you through the last few years has been transformed into fear. Fear that the jewish leaders will find you and put you through the same torturous death. Has God failed? If so, can there be hope?
We can look back and get a taste of the bitter disappointment and devastation that Jesus’ disciples experienced. We can never now exactly how devastated they were, but we can identify with them as we reflect on the devastations faced in our own lives. All of us have experienced painful devastation, instances where all hope in God has been obliterated. We remember that God has performed wonders in our past, but when hope is overshadowed by despair those wonders seem but fairy tales.
But, as the disciples soon discovered, when hope appears to vanish it pushes forth and once again we are overwhelmed by God’s glory. For them, the image of Jesus’ lifeless body was replaced with the presence of the Risen Lord. Jesus’ promise that he would be raised on the third day had been fulfilled (John 2:19). Through his triumph over the grave Jesus was proved to be the genuine article. He is the Son of God. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world. He is with us until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). He has sent the Spirit (John 14:16) to be our comforter and guide. He is the one who is coming again to bring justice to this broken world (Rev 22:12).
When you find yourself in a place of dark despair having your hope diminished, remember the Resurrection. It is the ultimate guarantee that Jesus is who he says it is. It is the reminder that despite the horror of a moment, Jesus is with you as a co-sufferer, and will help you overcome because he is the Victor. More important than this, the resurrection points to a new life to come for those who have trusted and been obedient to Him. It points to the time when all tears, sorrow, sin, brokenness, and shame will be destroyed and replaced with the wholeness that comes from being in the eternal presence of God (Rev 21).
When you find yourself in darkness, look to the light of the Resurrection and be lifted into the joy of hope.