As I write this, I am looking at a website that allows people to post anonymous prayer requests. Rather than simply saying, “I have an unnamed request,” they are able to say exactly what is bothering them without anyone knowing their identity. On this site, people put up prayers for their children who have cancer. One mother asked for prayer for her meth-addicted teenager. One man pleaded for prayers over a broken marriage and a wife that was cheating on him. Another man spoke of how he didn’t know whether or not his three-year-old daughter was going to live due to a horrible disease. Prayer requests made by strangers are sometimes more open than the “unspoken” prayer requests made in Sunday school and this can make us uncomfortable. The reason these anonymous prayer requests make us uncomfortable is that some of the requests come across as hopeless; they serve as a cry for help, a hapless, “pray for me,” though any hope of the situation improving is still slim.
It is very difficult to find hope in this world. It’s easy to come across people who see no point in life. We can look into the blank stare of an emancipated child in a third world country to realize this world is hopeless. So many in our age face evil on a daily basis and bear such a burden.
We face evil, we face pain, and we wonder if there will ever be an end. A young girl cries herself to sleep, wondering if the abuses of her father will ever cease. A father worries over how he will provide for his family since he lost his job. A teenage boy attempts to take his life because he feels like a stranger in his own home, emotionally neglected by his parents. A lady collapses in a back alley, longing for death because she feels she is worth nothing, not even good enough for prostitution. This is the hopeless world we live in.
To the burdened down, to the trial weary, to the restless, to those without hope, I beg of you, look in the empty tomb. The nothingness of the tomb of Jesus is full of everything you need.
Jesus Christ, God incarnate took upon our sins as a propitiation for what we deserve. He offered His life as a ransom. He took on our pain and suffering so that He too might be made weak like us, so that He might endure what we endure. But it is in this tomb, this beautifully empty tomb, we see Christus Victor, Christ victorious! In His resurrection He gained victory over everything laid upon Him on the cross.
Look into the empty tomb, those without hope, and in the emptiness find your hope. In His resurrection He has gained power over that which holds us back. All the evil of the world has been defeated and will one day come to an end.
For those who feel bogged down by their sins, see them upon the cross and see their defeat in the tomb. See that you are forgiven and can live life victoriously. To those tormented by demons, see that they hold no power over you, for they could not keep Christ in the grave.
For those who have no hope, look upon this empty tomb and see that He has given you hope, a hope beyond hope, that you will one day be resurrected. To those who live in poverty, peer into the richness of the empty tomb and see that your wealth is not found in the things of this world, but instead is found in Christ.
To those afraid of death, look in the tomb and realize that death is dead because Christ is raised. To those with physical ailments, look beyond the tomb, look to the risen Christ! As He is so shall we be, with new bodies that do not fail us.
To the blind, fall before the risen Christ and look up to Him with the sight you shall receive. To the deaf, listen to the beautiful song the resurrected Christ has written for you. To the terminally ill, fight death and laugh at it, realizing that death holds no power over you because Christ has already defeated it.
To the weak and paralyzed, run to our risen Lord and collapse in His arms, feel His strong embrace. To the hungry, go feast with the living Christ, who died for our sins, but has been raised by the Spirit of God, the power of God, to victory!
Look upon this resurrection, this very real resurrection that took place in time and space. Look upon the victorious Jesus. Look upon Him, oh weary and trodden down, and have hope; for Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
The trials of this world mean nothing for our hope is in Him. He is our only hope. When the trials of this world become too much, when the seas begin to rise and the earth shakes, when all comes tumbling down and the darkness will not cease, we take comfort in this; Christ Jesus died for our sins, our struggles, took them to the grave, left them there, and was risen in victory. In His victory we seek comfort from the ravages of this world.
We hide in the power of Christ from the heaviness of this world. When we struggle, when we are hurt, when all of life makes no sense, we can turn to Him. This is not some distant deity we worship. He is not some subject to be studied. He is the personal God, resurrected.
We live in power now because of Him. We live in victory. We live moment by moment for Christ. It is the power of the resurrection that transforms us; we die with Christ and are raised to Him, our old nature being destroyed, and our new nature being created.
Take heart in the dark times of life and have hope in the resurrection to come when we shall all join Christ. O what a glorious day that will be! Can you imagine, o sinner, what it will be to look upon the face of the One who died for you? Can you imagine looking at God, a God none of us are worthy to see, and instead of feeling His righteous wrath, to feel His warm embrace? Actually feel Him, for Jesus is truly resurrected!
This is the hope of all Christianity, that we will one day be as Christ is. We will one day be resurrected. We will be in perfect fellowship with Him. The hungry will feast with Him. The oppressed will be liberated. The orphaned will find their Father. The sinner will be made righteous. The impure will be made pure. The hope of things to come shall finally be upon us. Find hope in Christ, for Christ is what sinners dare not dream, He is hope fulfilled.