I had front row seats for the best baseball game I have ever seen live. No, I didn’t pay the ridiculous price for the major league charges for premium seats; I actually was being responsible and paid for cheap seats. I got this great view because until the bottom of the ninth inning this wasn’t such a great game at all. I was at a Milwaukee Brewers game in Miller Park and the Brewers were down by almost double digits with their star player still rehabbing an injury. It wasn’t exactly a premium matchup so Miller Park was fairly empty to begin with but once the 7th inning arrived and a loss seemed all but certain the ball park really started to empty out. After getting a bratwurst in the beginning of the 9th inning I investigated a little and found the premo seats had been all but vacated so I took a seat up close to watch a boring ending by my best guess. My holding out on a slight hope proved worthwhile as the Brewers had a wild comeback capped off by a three run walk off home run while most of the fans were already on the freeway home.
We can naturally be a little bit like those hopeless fans that left that game, when a challenge seems insurmountable we can give up and concede defeat. One area we might especially be tempted to do this in is the eternal salvation of our loved ones. If our adult parents or siblings have no interest in the Lord or our teenage children are living for themselves we might subconsciously concede things will always be that way. That hopelessness is in some ways understandable because not only do we know the path of salvation is the narrow path but we know fallen humans all naturally reject the Gospel and can’t accept it on their own. Some could see the salvation of a lost loved one or friend as even dramatically more unlikely than a last minute comeback by a terrible Brewers club. Why bother trying to share the good news they want nothing to do with? Shouldn’t we just beat the traffic and avoid more disappointment? This season of the year should tell us the answer is a resounding no.
Spring is rightly considered the season of new life. In the coming weeks the trees will look green again and the chirps of colorful birds will return. Even more than the Easter period is a celebration of new life and the hope that comes with it. Early Christians made the egg the symbol of Easter because an egg symbolized the hope that is new life. Peter wrote his first letter to Christians scattered and oppressed around the Roman kingdom and one of the first things he writes in the letter is an encouraging praise to God who gives all Christians hope and new life through Christ’s resurrection. 1 Peter 1:3 directly links the Resurrection of Christ with true and profound hope. Early Easter morning Christ’s disciples felt as hopeless as anyone has ever felt before. They gave up everything to follow Jesus and only five days after arriving in King David’s city their King was given a criminal’s death. All seemed to be lost and they were ready to leave before traffic got too bad in the parking lot. Easter morning their doubts were proved wrong as the impossible happened, a man beat the cruel opponent death. Jesus came back and showed them this kingdom they were hoping for is for greater than they could ever imagine. The resurrection and the incarnation are the two greatest miracles and we know if the Father can raise the Son from death he can truly do all things.
Easter is our great and glorious hope, it is the hope that saturates all creation and is more vivid each and every day. Death is dead and the insurmountable is surmountable. Easter morning brought new unexpected life and that life became contagious and by the Holy Spirit began to spread to all of God’s people in all of history. There is no stopping the hope of this life; it will make a barren dessert into a lush garden. This glorious living hope is the very hope that a mother who keeps giving the Gospel to her lost child must cling to. It is the hope the loving employee who can’t seem to win coworkers to the Lord must remember. It is the powerful hope that a man has as his lost father lies on his death bed. God not only can but He will spread this new life to His people when we share the glorious hope of Good Friday and Easter morning with our loved ones. That hope is real if someone has rejected it once or fifty times and it comes alive in ways we will never know or understand. We can and must have hope in the power of the Gospel this Easter and we must speak truth to our minds that sometimes struggle to believe the odds will be overcome.
Your salvation started two thousand years ago on a gloomy morning outside Jerusalem. You were hopeless but that glorious resurrection spread the best hope to you despite all the odds. This Easter let’s cling to that hope for those we love and spread that glorious message until the day hope is screamed forth in every corner of our galaxy.