Surprised By Hope
One of the most wonderful stories of the Christian Church in the 20th century, especially the Christian Church on Easter Sunday morning, comes from the early 1950s in Communist Russia. Where early on Easter Sunday morning a village was gathered together by the Communist officials to hear a public debate between a skilled Communist orator and an aged local Orthodox priest. It was to be a debate between this skilled academician and this simple country priest of the Orthodox faith. And so the Communist orator brought forward the same old, tired arguments to disprove the Christian faith and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. He then gave way, with a cynical smirk, to the aged priest, and said to him, ‘Now prove your risen Savior, if you can.’ And the priest stood before these people, whom he had known all his life, some of whom had known him almost all of their lives. And he spoke the simple words from the great Easter liturgy of the Orthodox church, ‘The Lord is Risen!’ And like thunder, the villagers replied, ‘He is risen, indeed!’ The debate came to an end.
This Easter morning we will look at some of the wonderful stories of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ as told by John in chapter 20 of his Gospel. A Gospel which John opens with these words, ‘A light came into the world, and the darkness has never been able to extinguish it.’ Then in the twentieth chapter John brings his Gospel to a marvelous climax and gives us a moving account of the light that shines even in the darkness of death. The darkness of death could not extinguish the light of Christ. It is here that John tells us how he and others came to learn of and experience the power of the resurrection.
We invite you to join us at Redeemer this Easter as we consider how John demonstrates that the death and resurrection of Jesus was indeed the apex of God’s plan for addressing the problems of sin and death. Perhaps I could sum it up by pointing to C. S. Lewis’s Narnian chronicles. In The Magician’s Nephew, Aslan promises that the worst of the evil, which had invaded the land of Narnia, will fall upon himself. And in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe it does, when the White Witch kills Aslan in the place of the traitorous child Edmund. But then Aslan rises from the dead and is discovered by Susan and Lucy, who fling themselves upon him, cover him with kisses, and ask what it means. Aslan explains, that “when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.” Death itself would start working backwards. That is exactly what happened in the resurrection of Christ. Death is destroyed. And His resurrection from the dead and His victory over death guarantees that all who believe in Him will share in that triumph.
Join us as we talk about ‘Surprised by Hope.’ May the Lord bless you and your family with the joy of the risen Christ this Easter season.
Christ is risen.
He is risen, indeed!
Because He lives,