Hope and Resurrection. If there is something that the world can always need it is hope. But how does our message of the resurrection become the good news of hope for the world?
Hope according to Michael Pahl for the Ancient person in Israel would have been, “the unjustly condemned would be justified, the wrongly shamed would be honored, and the cruelly oppressed would be liberated.” The hope is that one day God would resurrect these people who were condemned, shamed, and oppressed and they would be vindicated (shown to be in the right) for all to see. I am sure that sounds like hope to a lot of people in the world. At its core, the hope is that the horrors, injustices, and stuff that makes our hearts hurt and souls heavy would be made right. That the people we see getting away with murder, metaphorically and literally, would be brought to justice. More importantly, that the victims, the forgotten, the hurt, the lowly, the oppressed, would be lifted up.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was hope in an event. There is nothing more shameful, condemning, and oppressive than the Roman crucifixion. The crucifixion was meant to be shameful, meant to be a visible and tangible expression of the powers of Rome, while oppressing anyone who dared oppose the power of Rome. Particularly Jesus’ crucifixion stands as a beacon of the evil of the world in all its forms crashing together at once. Jesus was being called
• a blasphemer
• someone who is teaching wrongly in light of God’s ways
• a sinner
• not the messiah
• and more
What happened to Jesus was not unique. When we declare his death to be the significant event of his life we leave out so much. Many people claiming to be messiahs died the way Jesus did. One makes him unique is the resurrection. The resurrection becomes unique not just because someone comes back from the dead. It becomes unique because it encapsulates the hope of people. That those wrongfully condemned, shamed, and oppressed would be vindicated. By God raising Jesus from the dead God stamped Jesus life, ministry, teachings, and claims of messiahship to be true. By raising Jesus from the dead, God gives a sign in the being of Jesus to the people that there is hope for all who are being wrongfully condemned, shamed, and oppressed. That there will be a day of great resurrection when all those who have been wronged will be vindicated, and the world will know justice.
This is our great hope as Christians. That the very foundations of our faith are rooted in the hope of the resurrection of Jesus. It is because of his resurrection that we have great hope. So when you feel in the gut of your being that something is not right in the news. When you see an injustice happening in your neighborhood, city, or country. When you experience condemnation, shame, or oppression from people or from a system/institution, there is hope. No matter how rich or poor, what nation you are from, no matter how you identify your gender, there is a great hope.
And our hope rests in Jesus.