By Stuart Powell
God had a plan for Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. His plan was bigger than granting a way for believers to live with him for eternity. In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul stretched the faith of those early believers to grasp the fullness of God’s provision in Jesus’ sacrifice.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is intended to be an unending source of hope for the church while we are still in the world. We are to look at what God did on Easter morning and understand the breadth of his power. If he can raise his unjustly crucified Son from the dead in an unredeemed world, what else can God do?
Can he fill me with peace when circumstances are chaotic?
Can he stifle my enemy’s attacks and empower me to show them the love of God?
Can he turn the drudgery of my work into expressions of worship for him?
Can he work in the lives of those dear to me to convict them of their sin?
Can he transform those oppressing me with a desire to hear the gospel?
Can he bring purpose to the suffering I’m experiencing?
Yes, he can do all these things . . . and more. The fruit of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is hope. It is a hope that stretches from outside the Garden of Eden to the plains of Megiddo. That is the power God brings into the days of this life because of Jesus’ passion.
This practice of gathered believers eating the bread and drinking from the cup stretches back to the birth of the church. It is the opportunity to relive and reconnect with the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Every believer is invited to partake and remember and focus on the fruit of hope God shows us in the cross.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.