He Sent His Word to Heal By Anne Reed “If you do not accept Me…
The Hope of Resurrection
Written by Rev. Calvin Lindstrom
Seven years ago I heard a fascinating lecture by Professor Gregory Athnos of North Park College. A musician by training, Prof. Athnos had the opportunity to spend significant time studying the artwork found in the Roman catacombs. It was an eye-opening experience for him and a relevant study for Christians today. While today the cross is one of the most identifiable symbols for Christians, the early church in their artwork focused more on the theme of resurrection. This was in no way a diminution of the suffering of Christ but rather an expression of their hope that the Lord Jesus Christ died for sinners and was raised to new life.
What is also significant is how the early church took key stories from the Old Testament and used these stories as celebrations of triumph over death. The story of Jonah and Daniel in the Lion’s Den are often featured in artwork found in the catacombs. Though technically not stories of resurrection, they do point to God’s mighty power and deliverance over death. Certainly these stories foreshadow the greatest triumph over sin and death in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think for just about every Christian the last several weeks have been, at minimum, unsettling. There is still much that concerns us. We mourn with those who have lost a loved one to this terrible virus or have gone through a time of great testing. We weep with those who have lost employment or who face great uncertainties for their business or ministry moving forward. We are alarmed at the rapid expansion of government power at the city, state, and federal level. Can we even contemplate the cost of this pandemic to our nation? So yes, it is proper to weep and be greatly concerned about what is taking place. But in the midst of this, there should be hope.
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” – (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
We do not sorrow as those without hope.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” – (1 Peter 1:3)
It is significant that this is the first major holiday that we will not celebrate as we normally would. But this shouldn’t mean a diminished celebration. While your gathering might be much smaller or more subdued than normal, if you are focused on the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ, how can you not be filled with joy and hope?
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – (Romans 8:37)
Though this time is difficult for many, we have an opportunity to share the hope we have with those who are fearful and anxious. Because we have placed our trust in Jesus Christ, we have something unimaginable to look forward to.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
Like those in the early church who suffered, let your focus be on the joy of Christ’s resurrection and your resurrection to come.