The Word Among Us

Easter 2018 Issue

Easter: A Celebration of Hope

A Letter from the Publisher

By: Joe Difato

Easter: A Celebration of Hope: A Letter from the Publisher by Joe Difato

If someone asks you to spell the word “Easter,” tell them it’s spelled H.O.P.E. Here’s why.

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus told his apostles that he must go to Jerusalem, where he would suffer many things, be killed, and on the third day be raised to life (Mathew 16:21). All the Gospels, in fact, tell us that Jesus knew about his coming death. It wasn’t an accident or a mistake. He wanted to die for us so that we “would not perish” and so that we would “be saved” (John 3:16, 17). This was at the heart of God’s plan all along—to send Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

But what does this have to do with Easter and with hope? Everything. Easter shows us that we can be raised up with Jesus, just as he was raised from the dead (Romans 6:4). Easter tells us about all the things we can place our hope in: forgiveness, freedom from past hurts, the power of the Holy Spirit to help us, and best of all, the promise of eternal life!

On Easter, Jesus showed that we can move beyond the tragedy at Calvary. As Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He has triumphed over sin, Satan, and death, and now he is saying to all of us, “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36).

Placing our hope in Jesus and his resurrection is not about wishing for something to come true. It’s far more substantial than that. Placing our hope in Jesus comes from faith: faith in the future and trust in God’s promises as we face the unknown. Jesus’ resurrection is our own “living hope” in the promise of “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Do Not Let Your Heart Be Troubled. It’s interesting. The older I get, the more heavily the troubles of the world seem to weigh on me. I feel increasingly the weight of all the wars, poverty, abuse, divisions, and violence in the world. So many of God’s children are suffering. So many are lonely, unhappy, or in desperate straits.

But this weight doesn’t burden me too much. It moves me to do what I can to change the way things are. It moves me to ask God in prayer each day to step in and bring an end to these troubles. It also moves me to remember Jesus’ words to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (John 14:1-2).

In the midst of all of our troubles—and they can feel overwhelming—I know that God has his hand on the world. I see both faith and hope at work in my heart because I know that Jesus, the risen Lord, loves every one of us. I know he will never abandon us.

This is what Easter hope does for us: It rejuvenates us. It fills us with joy and moves us out into the world to share that hope with the people around us.

Jesus is risen! Let’s place our hope in him.

Joe Difato