Franklin Graham: The Hope of the Resurrection

Mar 1, 2024 | News

It was my privilege to be in Israel recently to film a special Easter message from Jerusalem, where our Lord was crucified. Standing in front of Joseph of Arimathea’s rock-hewn tomb, I gave the Gospel invitation to trust in the risen Savior whom God raised from the dead so that all who believe in Him can receive the gift of eternal life.

In our troubled world, where there is so much confusion, chaos and calamity, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is our only sure and certain hope. Every other hope is vain, every other hope is futile, every other hope falls far short of meeting our deepest and most pressing needs.

In the coming weeks, we will celebrate His resurrection, but can you imagine the overwhelming despair Jesus’ followers felt 2,000 years ago, after His brutal death on the cross? How hopeless they must have felt—until the dawn of His resurrection!

Maybe you’re feeling some of that hopelessness. You don’t know what to do, and your life is a mess. It just seems like it’s not worth living. Well, I want you to know that there is hope, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who took your sins to the cross.

Christ came for a purpose, and that was to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ came on a rescue mission to take our sins and to shed His blood, to die on the cross. He was buried for our sins. And on the third day, God raised His Son to life. And if you’re willing to accept this truth and surrender your life to the Lord, He will change you, cleanse you, forgive you and give you a new beginning.

This is the hope of Easter. Jesus is not dead. He’s alive! You can go all over the world and find great philosophers and so-called religious leaders. And you can go to their tombs and visit their graves and see their bones. But you can’t find the bones of the Lord Jesus Christ, because there aren’t any. His tomb is empty! He’s alive, and He will come into the hearts of all who are willing to confess their sin, turn from it in repentance and believe on His Name.

Because of the resurrection power of our Lord, believers can be certain that their sins are eternally forgiven. God, the just Judge, has carried out the penalty for sin—death—on His own sinless Son so that we can be reconciled to Him through believing on and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. God’s wrath against sin was poured out at Calvary so that sinful man can stand before a Holy God without condemnation or fear. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

Because of the resurrection of Christ, those of us who are in Christ can be assured that we too will be raised one day. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). That means that you and I are guaranteed to be raised from the grave, since Christ was the first, the prototype of all believers of every age to come. In fact, the Scripture says that when we were born again, God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Amazingly, somehow, we are now in union with the risen Christ. He is our very life. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Because Christ has been raised from the dead, you can be sure you will one day see your saved loved ones who have already passed into His presence. Writing to the Thessalonians, who were concerned about what happened to the souls of their loved ones, the Apostle Paul wrote: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

Because Christ has been raised from the dead, we can be sure that He will return one day soon, and His believers will have glorified bodies to go along with their redeemed souls. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21). We don’t know what that will look like, just as a full grown plant doesn’t look like the seed from which it came, but it will be more amazing than we can possibly imagine.

When our resurrected Lord does return, He will not come as a suffering Savior, but as King of kings; not as a lamb, but as the Lion of Judah, to pour out His wrath on those who have rejected and scorned Him, and to welcome all whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth, with no death, no tears, no pain, no sin.

And most wonderfully, we have our Risen Lord’s mighty presence day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. He is with us always (Matthew 28:20). He is interceding for us when we don’t even know how to pray (Hebrews 7:25). He is our Advocate before the Heavenly Father when we sin (1 John 2:1).

Christ is risen! Praise His Name! ©2024 BGEA

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.

Photo: Shealah Craighead / ©2024 BGEA