Easter: The Holiday of Hope
“In a pitch-black room, a room swallowed up in darkness, even a small pin point of light glows brightly. And when light enters, darkness exits.” So begins Pastor Gregg Laurie’s message to those trapped in the lonely darkness of their own hopelessness.
Trapped in the darkness of lonely hopelessness is an apt description of the two individuals who are making their way home from Jerusalem after the Passover. In Luke’s gospel (Ch. 24), they are described as having “sadness written across their faces.” Hopelessness and sadness go together. They were sad that Jesus had died.
In addition, they were disillusioned. Jesus had let them down. Everything they heard about him and saw him do confirmed to them that he was the promised Messiah that would restore Israel to its former glory. “We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.” (V. 21). It had been three days and they spoke of Jesus in the past tense.
On their way home, they encounter the risen Jesus, whose identity is hidden from them. They openly vent their sadness, discouragement, hopelessness, and disillusionment. As the conversation progresses there is also a restlessness. Perhaps it can be best described as an uneasiness, for in spite of their reality that Jesus had been crucified and is dead, there were reports of angels announcing that he is alive. It was all so confusing and mysterious.
Upon reaching their destination, they invite the traveler to stay the night and join them in a meal. As the bread is shared, they recognize the resurrected Jesus.
The resurrected Jesus changes everything. Sadness becomes excitement. Their uneasiness becomes assurance. Hopelessness gives way to promise. The promise of a new beginning, a new life, and a new outlook.
Truly Easter is the holiday of hope. The resurrected Jesus changes everything!