Could there be any more devastating words to hear than “You may not see next Christmas”? They are the kind of words that people dread to hear. Not only the diagnosed ones but also all those who love them. What real hope is there for people with a terminal illness? All the plans, all the hopes, all the dreams are shattered in an instant.
I don’t know if you have been affected by a situation such as this. But many of us have been close to someone with a terrible illness – or we know someone who has been close.
In these kinds of situations it can be difficult to find hope. People place hope in medical breakthroughs, miraculous remissions, alternative therapies and all sorts of things. However, sometimes the sad reality is that there is no hope for a cure. What is needed is hope beyond a cure.
In some ways, this is the experience we all face in life. We all face the reality of our future death. There is no point hoping it won’t happen. Ask most elderly people how they feel when they see themselves in the mirror and they would say they don’t recognise themselves. They don’t feel old. They don’t know where all the time has gone. But death catches up to us all.
So what hope is there?
I came across a great little book called ‘Hope beyond cure’ recently. It is written by David McDonald, a Christian Minister in Canberra. In his early 50s David was diagnosed with incurable stage 4 lung cancer. It was out of nowhere and he was shocked. As he lay in hospital with little hope of recovery he had questions about life weighing upon him. He had been a full time Christian minister most of his working life. But what did it mean now that he faced his death?
What David remembered and hoped in was that everything hinges on Jesus Christ. Even more specifically, all hope hinges on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus predicted his death and resurrection and then he actually rose again from death, then there was reason to hope.
The Apostle Paul made a similar argument 2000 years before David walked the earth. In 1 Corinthians 15:17 he writes:
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have died in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus brings hope beyond a cure and even beyond death. Those who have faith in Jesus have the promise of eternal life with him. It all hinges on that resurrection. Did Jesus rise from the dead? If he did, then we would be fools to ignore him. If he did not, then we would be fools to listen to him.
Easter is a great time to think afresh about Jesus. It is all about Jesus’ death and resurrection for you! Please join us this Easter to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection and to think more about what Jesus brings for us all.
[ The simplest way to meet Jesus is by reading Luke’s gospel. It is freely available at all of our church services this weekend. If you would like to read how Jesus shaped the life of David McDonald and his struggles with cancer you can obtain a copy of his book ‘Hope beyond cure’ from MatthiasMedia.com.au ]