Is There Hope? Easter Sermon Video and Manuscript

Jesus Tresurrection gives us hope, not merely for life after death – but for LIVING LIFE in the here and now.

his post contains the sermon preaching on March 20, 2016, at The Patterson Avenue Baptist Church.  The sermon is titled:  “Is There Hope? and is based on Matthew 28:1-8.  This is the sermon preached on Easter Sunday as the last sermon in a series titled:  “Life’s Essential Questions”

You can see the video read the manuscript below.

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Is There Any Hope? – Matthew 28:1-7  (NIV)


After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.


There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.


The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”


These are the words of Psalms 42:5; the words of the soul talking to itself. You’ve been there!


“Self,” you’ve say to yourself. “Self, what are you so cast down? Why are you so disquieted? Why are you so discouraged, disheartened, and depressed? Why are you so demoralized and dejected?   Why are you so uneasy, worried, anxious, and alarmed?”


You’ve had this kind of internal dialogue. You’ve felt anxious and fearful; angst and apprehensive.


You’ve picked up the checkbook and realized there were not enough funds to pay all the bills…


You’ve been to the doctor’s office and heard a unsettling diagnosis…


You’ve received the unexpected pink slip from the company you’ve work at for more than a decade…


You’ve been to the graveyard and laid to rest a sibling, spouse, parent or child…


You’ve watched the news reports about the latest deadly terror attacks…


You’ve felt stressed, depressed, hassled and frazzled.


Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me?”


We can imagine that this was the internal dialogue of the women who approached the tomb where Jesus had been buried.


The religious leaders were intent on getting Jesus’ body in the tomb before the Sabbath.  There was no time for fitting funeral.  So, early in the morning, on the first day of the week, under the cover of the darkness that comes just before the dawn, the women went to the tomb to make certain Jesus was given a  proper burial.


For these disciples, Jesus had led beyond what was ordinary into the great adventure that led toward the Reign of God.  He revealed what was possible when God was involved.  The sick were made well.  The hungry were fed.  The alienated found inclusion.  Injustices were reversed.  The broken were put back together.  Even the dead were raised.


But now it was over, ending that dark and dismal Friday when Jesus was crucified.  The great adventure had ended.  It was finished.


Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?”


Their hearts was crestfallen.  They went to the graveyard to bid Jesus their final respects.  Next, they would to return to business as usual.  What else can you do when hope has died?


Business as usual—imagine how difficult it must have been to even consider.   Those who approached the tomb shared in an intimate relationship with Jesus.  Their lives had been profoundly changed by the experience.  In Jesus’ presence,  life was filled with power, promise, and purpose.  They never knew what was coming next, but one thing was certain—they never got bored.  But now it was over.  The adventure was over.


Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?”


How could they return to the monotonous routines of everyday life after having seen Jesus feed the hungry, heal the sick, raise the dead, and proclaim the good news of God’s rule and Reign?  The women were brave and true to the end – but they had come to the end.  There was nothing else to do buy put flowers on his grave.


On Saturday, December 17, 1927, the crew of the Navy submarine S-4 was trolling beneath the waters of Cape Cod Bay. They were engaged in routine testing of their vessel. A Coast Guard Cutter was traveling across the surface doing the same. The vessels never saw each another.


The submarine broke the surface just in time to receive a deathblow from the Cutter. The submarine, with its crew of forty, sank in less than five minutes, coming to rest more than one hundred feet below the ocean surface.


A rescue ship was immediately dispatched and sailors dove to where the submarine had sunk to survey the damages and make any possible rescue attempt.  When the divers arrived, the trapped sailors heard the metal boots of the diver land on the exterior surface.  In the darkness, they tapped in Morse code, “Is there any hope?”


Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?”


What the Psalmist was asking – what those sailors were asking – what we often ask – is this:  “Is there any hope?”


Here’s  the inner dialogue that takes place as we worship on Easter Sunday. In fact, we face this kind of conversation in our souls on most any day.  We gather for worship, but our hearts feel ensnared by terrible circumstances.  We are plagued with terrorism, wars, violence, and crime.  On a personal level, we face the ongoing reality of our own mortality – sickness, sorrow, suffering, and death.    We try to stem the tide.  We eat right, exercise, take our vitamins, and try to reduce stress in our lives.  We visit the physician for our annual checkup and follow all her instructions for living well.  But the more we try to extract ourselves from what ails us, the deeper we seem to sink into the quicksand of despair.  So, we wonder: Is there any hope?


The Psalmist words speak to our frustrations and fears.  He is asking himself that question:


“Is there any hope?”


He is talking to himself, asking:


“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?”


But he is also answering his own questions. He is responding to his own fear and apprehensions. Listen again.


“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”


“Hope in God!” he says to himself in response to the his own internal dialogue. In the face of frustration, he refuses to give up. He knows that God has not left the building. “Hope in God!”


That’s the confession of faith for those of us who gather this Easter Sunday.  In response to all that confronts us, all that challenges us, all that seeks to robs us of our life and joy and passion and mission, we say in response:  “Hope in God!”


That’s the message from the empty tomb.   That’s the declaration of Easter.  That’s the proclamation of the resurrection.   When things seem to be at their worst, when you feel cast down and disquieted, the word of faith is this: “Hope in God!”


Nothing could have prepared the women for what they encountered at the cemetery. What greeted them that sunrise was the surprise of their lives. The text says:


There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.” 


The angel’s words to the women struck a note of hope, a resounding crescendo of triumph:


Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”


“He is not here; he has risen.”


Do you know what this means?  It means that we can “Hope in God!” It also means that such hope is not unfounded, because it rest squarely on the shoulders of God.


The tragedy of the cross was not final. “Hope in God!”


The power of the grave has been defeated.  “Hope in God!”


The sting of death has been removed.  “Hope in God!”


We do not have to go back to business as usual. “Hope in God!”


The adventure of faith has not ended, but is only beginning.  “Hope in God!”


Have you ever stopped to consider what humanity’s greatest enemy is? It’s not terrorism or some oppressive political system. It’s not some terminal illness, economic difficulties, or social injustice.  These may certainly be brutal, but they pail as cheap reflections of our greatest enemy.


Humanity’s greatest enemy is death. Death defies human understanding.  Death cannot be held at bay or controlled.  Death dissolves bonds of love.  It strikes with calloused disregard for circumstances.  It threatens to render everything we call good to be meaningless.


Is it any wonder that we sometimes refer to death as the “Grim Reaper”?  There is no escaping it.  Medical advancements, good nutrition, and proper exercise may be able to prolong life, but they cannot prevent the certainty of death. We are creatures of death. We die a little bit every day.  Every second that goes by brings us closer, and closer, and closer to that moment when we shall be laid to rest in the grave.  Someone once told me that we all have a terminal illness—it’s called life. Everyone eventually dies!


Without Easter, what hope would we have in the face of such a certain destiny?


I know that I am not enough when facing this reality.  All of my personal resources—all of my strength and stamina—it all fails me when I stand near the casket.  You know I stand near caskets more often than most.  Every time (every funeral, every tombstone, every graveyard) I am reminded of my own mortality.  I am reminded that there is nothing I can do to stop death’s march.


Then I hear those words:  “Hope in God!”


Then I read the angel at the empty grave say:  “Do not be afraid!”


Then I hear the proclamation of the resurrection:  “Jesus is not hear.  He has risen.”


The resurrection of Christ means that evil and death has been defeated.  If Christ was God in human flesh and we killed him, the Crucifixion was the most heinous crime in history.  As Christ lay in the tomb on the night of Good Friday through the Sabbath on Saturday, it seemed that hate had triumphed over love; exclusion looked like it had won out over acceptance; judgment over mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  At the cross, it seemed like cruelty had dealt compassion a fatal blow and that darkness had extinguished all light.


But God did not allow the agony and injustice of the cross to have the last word. Through Jesus resurrection, God declared that love and life and light victorious over all their foes.


“Hope in God!”


True, we still live in a Good Friday world.  We still live in a world where unfairness and suffering abound.  But now death’s sting is gone.  The power of the grave has been broken.  The strength of God’s love has prevailed.  This because the resurrection is reality.


We share in the share in the victory of the third day.  “Hope in God!”


Because the finality of death in Christ has died, we can be freed from the fear of what lays beyond the grave.  “Hope in God!”


Because resurrection is real, we can live life to its fullest with passion and mission and joy.  “Hope in God!”


Because of Easter, we do not have to go back to business as usual.  The adventure of faith is not over—it’s just beginning.  “Hope in God!”


Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life if worth the living, just because He lives.


Is there any hope? YES! Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we can “Hope in God!”


Christ the Lord is risen today!  Alleluia!

Resurrection – A Max Lucado Story
publisher: Bridgestone, published: 2011-03-01
EAN: 0095163883485
sales rank: 51985
price: $4.13 (new), $2.89 (used)

Max Lucado’s renowned short story is brought to life in this dramatic production that follows Claudius, a Roman guard who finds himself in the middle of a cover-up of the tumultuous events following Christ’s execution. As he digs for the truth, Claudius discovers that the religious leaders, the Roman government, and even his closest friends are attempting to hide something from him and the world. In the end, his relentless pursuit of the answers to his growing questions threatens his reputation and even his life, but it also leads to his renewal. Dove approved for ages 12 and over, Resurrection is a gripping tale that not only challenges viewers to put themselves in the shoes of a Roman soldier assigned to Christ’s execution, but also reminds them how any life can be changed by seeking truth and understanding.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.’s standard return policy will apply.


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