Scripture tells us that it was Mary Magdalene who came to the tomb that early Easter dawn. It was the time of day when it is not yet fully light and still somewhat in darkness. You get a sense that the semi-darkness was not just about the time of day, but also about Mary’s emotional state over the events of the past two days. Death had lingered in the air. Sadness followed Mary to the tomb. And yet she came in faithfulness to anoint the body of her Lord. What she found instead was stunning. She found not the tomb of death, but the empty tomb of hope. All signs of death had disappeared. Jesus is no longer dead, but alive, and that changes everything.
The promise of the Easter Resurrection is that the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead can enable us to live the life we see in Jesus. It is the great Christian hope that just as Jesus was raised to eternal life, so too will it be for us. It is the shockwave of hope that can reverberate through the world and says that no matter what life throws at us, Jesus has conquered it all.
Christian hope is not that tomorrow will be better than today, that is just another form of optimism. Christian hope is the profound awareness that the way Jesus lives and dies – trusting God in all things – is also to be our way of life, and that God’s raising Jesus from the dead is our foundation of hope.
Christian hope is staking one’s life on the fact that the God we see in the life Jesus is alive within us, and through the things that God calls us to we will find true meaning and purpose.
Many of us have – or will have – situations in our lives that are seemingly hopeless. Easter is about persevering and growing in hope. We are reminded to hold fast to our Christian hope and to know that if we persist in our faith in Jesus, somehow things will work out for us. It is her faithfulness that brought Mary to the tomb, and it is hope that greeted her, the same hope that greets us now with the promise of eternal life.