Easter, God’s Invitation To Hope Again In Life’s Hard Places

As we look toward Easter and the hope of the resurrection, it’s hard not to think about the things in our lives that need transformation, isn’t it?

Strained relationships with family and friends.  Flabby, aging bodies.  Exams and assignments that don’t seem very relevant to the careers they’re supposedly preparing us for.  Your annoying next-door-neighbor or roommate.  Unjust deeds that go unnoticed or unpunished.  And… yeah.

Is there any place in our lives that doesn’t need the hope that Christ brings?

Jesus’ Old, New Resurrection Body

When we look at the resurrection, God invites us to imagine what life will be like when Jesus returns and makes ‘all things new’ (Revelation 21:5).  We get a sneak preview of the world to come in Jesus’ resurrection body. 

In his encounter with (doubting) Thomas after his resurrection, Jesus’ new body still bears the nail marks from his crucifixion (John 20:24-28).  And all the disciples recognize him as the Jesus they knew before his death.

On the other hand, Jesus can pass through locked doors (John 20:19).  And Paul can say that, ‘Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him’ (Romans 6:9).

So, Jesus’ post-resurrection body is like his old body, but better.  Way better.

What Happened To Jesus Will Happen To You

The amazing thing is that Jesus’ body is a preview of what’s in store for us.  And, all of creation.  The parts that you struggle with most right now, as you read this post.

For I [Paul] consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us [when Jesus returns]… for the creation was subjected to futility… in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God… and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies’ (Romans 8:18, 20, 21, 23).

I love the way NT Wright puts it:

Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present.  (Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, The Resurrection, & The Mission Of The Church)

So although it’s just a trailer, in Easter we see already the new world where God is taking us.

Easter In The Muck Of Your Everyday Life

Let’s pull all this toward the world where you live.  If Jesus’ indestructible, resurrection body is a picture of the world that’s coming, we’ve got a lot to think about. 

In other words, there’s hope for the darkest parts of your life.

It’s like one of those home remodeling shows.  At the beginning, the expert shows the young couple a fixer-upper.  As they walk in the front door, they almost fall through the hole in the floor.  Then they stare at each other in horror and say, ‘We’ll never live here. This place is a dump!’

But then the expert hands them a paper bag, they hyperventilate, and go back to the office.  They see computer renderings for what the house will look like after the contractors are done with it.  Then, through the magic of television, we see a month’s worth of progress in 15 minutes.  They do the big reveal, then everyone cries and lives happily ever after.

Right now, you’re living in the fixer-upper.  Our fallen world.  And it’s hard to imagine that it could ever, really be much better.

But in Easter and the resurrection, God has shown us a real, if mysterious, part of the amazing ‘computer renderings’ for our new home.  It will still be our home, but infinitely better than we can now anticipate.

The big reveal will have to wait for Christ’s return, but what God has shown us in Christ is supposed to ignite our imaginations now.  And give us solid hope.

When Christ returns, what might transformation look like in…

  • those places of tension in your marriage?
  • pockets of injustice and deep need in your community?
  • places you can’t seem to stop sinning?
  • a misunderstanding that’s driven a wedge between you and a friend?
  • areas of physical or mental weakness?

More than anything, I dream of meeting my autistic son, Matthew, for the first time and having our first real conversation.  I can’t think (or write) about it without crying, but it’s going to happen. What happened to Jesus at his resurrection is going to happen to Matthew.  And me. And everyone who trusts in Christ.

At Easter, God invites you to reimagine what will happen when Jesus heals the most broken places in your life and makes them new.

No matter how much we dream about it, God’s version will be infinitely better.

Our minds will be completely blown, because ‘no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Questions for reflection:

  1. What parts of your world (internal and external to you) most need Jesus’ Easter, resurrection power?
  2. Pick one thing you thought about in the first question, and imagine how it might be different when Jesus returns.  Try to picture it in detail, even if it’s hard to go there.  Open your heart to God, and ask him for the grace to live with real hope in what he will someday do.

For more on how Easter changes everything in our everyday lives, see my post ‘He Is Risen: So Now What?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Bryan,
    One of the more common questions I’ve received as a pastor is, “What will our glorified bodies be like?” I’ve often said what you communicated in this post: look at what Jesus was like after His resurrection for the best answer. You made the points that stand out to me as the most astonishing—He ate and passed through walls. Wild to think of the implications for us!

    At funerals I often use 2 Corinthians 5:1:-4:

    1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

    These verses make us long for those glorified bodies.

    Just realized I didn’t get to your questions :).

    • Hey Scott, yes, it is a lot of fun to think about what it might mean practically for us to have bodies like Jesus. Sounds like the best of both worlds, so to speak!

      And great to remember that there are very important, real-life applications for people who are wrestling with someone who’s been lost to death. The passage you mention sounds like a perfect one for funerals.

      And no worries on not answering the questions… that’s more for you to process with the Lord. 🙂