Focus – The Message of Hope
By Lt. Colonel Mervyn Moreloc –
It’s spring! The grass on the hillsides is taking on a fresh green hue. The daffodils along the highway are giving us sunny smiles after months of cold and rain. The fir and pine trees are sending velvety green tips on each branch, shouting new life, new growth, new hope! Winter is gone and spring is bringing new life, and messages of hope in every form. From the newly green fields with freshly sprouted alfalfa to the new lambs at the sides of their mothers on the hillside, there are signs of life and hope everywhere!
As God puts these annual reminders of his faithfulness in nature, so we also celebrate and observe an annual ritual of his faithfulness in offering us the hope of eternal life at Easter.
The greatest news that mortal ear has ever heard is the news that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, as he had promised. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the chief proof of the Christian faith. It is the truth that lies at the very foundation of the Gospel. Other doctrines of the Christian faith may be important, but the resurrection is essential. Without a belief in the resurrection there can be no personal salvation. The Bible says, “If we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Not only does the resurrection give hope of immortality, but it also provides Life with capital L, here and now. Before the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon individuals only on certain occasions for special tasks, but now, after the resurrection, Christ through the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer to give us supernatural power to live our daily lives. The Scripture says that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead on the first Easter will raise us from the dead if the Spirit lives in us. (Romans 8:11) Call upon his resources, his grace is more than sufficient; he will help you always to triumph over the world, the flesh and the devil.
The empty tomb is proof of Christ’s dominion, is the pattern of our transformation, and is the promise of our own resurrection!
I once read a story about a pastor who had a dream that Jesus had not risen. And he had the awful task of trying to console a family who had lost their father. He went to the home, where he was met by sad faces, red eyes and tears. His own heart was cold and frustrated, for he had no words of comfort to offer, no hope in a heaven above, no assurance that our loved ones would be in heaven to meet us one day, only an unrelenting bleak, black feeling of emptiness. And at the graveside service later that day, he had no music or scriptures to offer hope. Utter bleakness and hopelessness. Then he woke up. Oh, what joy to know that he did have a message of hope. For Jesus lives!
On one of our visits to Israel, our guide pointed to the profusion of flowers that swept across whole fields. White and orange, yellow and red, all the hillsides of Israel seemed to be bursting forth with new life. We had visited many of these places before and we had never observed many flowers, but even at Qumran, next to the Dead Sea, the usually arid desert was coming alive with color. Whole busloads of tourists stopped, and not just to look at the ruins, but to exclaim, “Oh, look at the flowers!”
Easter is the crowning glory of springtime. It brings mankind a message of hope like no other. At the Garden tomb there is a little sign mounted just a few feet from the grave entrance, saying, “He is risen.” And that’s the message of Hope! “He is risen, he is risen indeed!”