Victory in Jesus is the source of our hope – Part 1
In baptism, we were crucified with Christ and raised to new life. The empty tomb now belongs to us, just as much as it belongs to Jesus.
Have you ever read a newspaper story about a prison inmate who was facing execution? Or perhaps you’ve seen a movie that depicts a convict on death row. It’s a very intense situation, and the condemned man tends to be solemn, quiet, and reflective.
Perhaps he is sad and remorseful over what he has done. Or he may be angry, protesting that he doesn’t deserve to die. Most likely, he is terrified. His last meal is a grim occasion, filled with either regret and recrimination, or numb resignation to his fate.
One thing you will probably not hear a condemned man say is that it was a good thing for him to be killed. Neither would he likely tell his friends that he was about to conquer the world—this “world” that was getting ready to conquer and kill him. Neither would he predict that his loved ones would know absolute joy and peace after he was gone. Even if he tried to put on a brave face, you would still see signs of fear lurking just beneath the surface.
A Man for Others. This is what makes the Last Supper so moving. Jesus knew he was about to be arrested, tortured, and crucified. He knew that Judas had betrayed Him to the authorities, that Peter would deny knowing Him, and that the rest would desert Him.
And yet despite all this, Jesus didn’t spend His final meal focusing on the frightful, lonesome path that lie before Him. Instead, He focused on His friends, weak and sinful though they would prove to be. He dedicated His remaining few hours to caring for this group of men and women, who would soon be devastated by His death.
How did He do it? By speaking words of hope to them. People lose hope, when they believe that they have no future. Jesus knew that His death would leave the disciples thinking that they had wasted the past three years of their lives. He knew, too, that their dreams for the kingdom of God would be dashed. How could there be a kingdom, if the supposed King didn’t even stand up for Himself and His followers? How could there be a future that they could put their hope in after this?
To answer these questions, Jesus sought to give His disciples a vision of what life would be like for them after Good Friday. He tried to point them beyond the immediate crisis, so that they could see that they still had a future full of hope. Perhaps if we looked more closely at Jesus’ words of promise, we could see the hope that is ours as well.
The Hope of Heaven. The first, and most obvious promise that Jesus made was the promise of heaven. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” He told them. “I am going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). He promised that He would come back and take them to be with Him forever. In a sense, everything Jesus said and did revolved around Heaven. Every miracle He performed pointed to the way we will be transformed in Heaven. Every sermon He preached told us how to live, so that we could bring Heaven to earth. And every parable He told painted a picture of the life God wants to pour out on us—a life that will find its complete fulfilment, when Jesus comes back to take us all into His kingdom.
Covenant Prayer Life Assembly, 6, Unity Crescent, off Olatunji Street, Ladipo, Oshodi, Lagos. Contact us on 08034849689, or e-mail: Covenantradiotv@gmail.com
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