In the last of our Stand and Speak series, as we enter Holy Week, Andrea Williams comments on the hope found in the Easter message and why it is a hope worth sharing.
‘Hope’ can sometimes sound like wishful thinking or unadulterated optimism. We often hear phrases like “I hope you’ve had a good weekend”, or “I’m hoping for the best”, or “I hope there’s something good on TV tonight!” Then there are the more general, big ‘hopes’ many of us share, like world peace, an end to famine, an end to poverty.
As Christians, we are characterised by our hope. But our hope is not wishful thinking or unadulterated optimism; it is the reality of Christ crucified, Christ resurrected, of Christ within us and of Christ’s return. It is the true, living hope we find in Jesus Christ through the reality of his death and resurrection. And it is because Jesus has been raised from the dead that we have hope – if he hadn’t risen again, our hope would be pitiable (1 Cor 15:17-19). But we can be sure that what we hope for will come to pass.
Hebrews 6:19-20 says:
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
Christians are the only ones to have true, living hope (1 Peter 1:3) because Jesus has made a way for us. Without Jesus and separate from Christ, there is only false hope – or worse, no hope at all (Ephesians 2:12).
A hope worth sharing
The Bible tells us that the world puts its hope in earthly things, things that will ultimately fail. The king cannot be saved by his great army; the soldier is not saved by his strength (Psalm 33). Money will not save us, nor family, a house, travel, knowledge… These idols all eventually fall. Nothing will bring us the comfort, security or deliverance we yearn for. Every other philosophy, worldview and religion fails to offer real hope because Jesus alone offers the way to eternal life and peace with God.
In Christ, there are treasures beyond our imagination. There is wisdom for our lives, freedom from sin, life and resurrection. There is hope of eternal life and everlasting peace with God. The promise of an unfading inheritance and un unshakeable Kingdom.
In Christ, we can have hope even in the face of death. This is the living hope we remember at Easter. It is a message of triumph – that death has been defeated, that there is life in Christ, that he will give us a hope and a future (Jer 29). Our victorious King has come, ushering in his rule and reign of justice and mercy; through his death we are united with him, and through his resurrection, we are raised with him into eternal life.
Easter is good news for everyone who puts their hope in Jesus. In Romans 6:5-7, Paul tells us of what we hope for:
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
So even in the middle of suffering, struggles and trials, we can still proclaim that Jesus has won and rejoice in victory. That is the message we bring and that we are passionate about sharing with the world. It is this hope that drives us to love and serve others in the hope that they, too, will find this living hope.
Speaking of hope in public life
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have. That’s why at Christian Concern we speak of Jesus in public life, it’s why we seek to bring him to the heart of society. Without him, there is no hope and we want everyone to have the chance to find that out for themselves.
The gospel is not simply a story of personal transformation; it is the book of life, a living word that sets out the right way we should marry, have families, be communities and live as a nation. When we realise that, we see all things transformed.
It is our mission at Christian Concern to speak into specific situations where the hope of Jesus is desperately needed, because we know that he alone can set free and bring healing, restoration and lasting hope. And the issues that we encounter so often give us the opportunity to share this living hope, from family breakdown and divorce, to drug abuse and addictions, euthanasia and assisted suicide to issues with gender and sexuality.
Equipping the Church to bring hope
We also want to reflect the reality that the church across the nation – and the world – is a force for good, a vehicle to bring the hope of Jesus to the lost and hopeless.
So, at Christian Concern, we protect churches’ freedom to bring hope to their communities. We help and support various projects that churches set up, equipping them with the resources they need to share the hope with those around them. We enable ministries from community outreach projects to pro-life groups, from Christian educators to counsellors and therapists. Sometimes we give direct, practical advice, sometimes we help with legal support, but we also campaign for government policies that enable these works to flourish.
Eternal hope, lasting transformation
There are many challenges to Christian truth and witness in society. But the Lord is on the throne, ruling, bringing eternal hope, transforming individuals and changing communities. It is that big picture that we often miss if we focus only on the challenges. And although the challenges are real, we can look up to the reality of Jesus Christ on the throne of Heaven and rejoice in the hope he has brought us.
This isn’t just a personal hope we keep to ourselves. Rather, we are called to bring the hope of Jesus Christ into every part of our broken society – to our workplaces, our politics, our culture, our friends and family.
So let’s be bringers of hope, sharing the truth that through Jesus, there is real transformation, freedom, restoration, joy.
Will you join us in bringing hope?