The Anchor of Hope: April 2014

The Anchor of Hope
An e-publication of Living Hope Presbyterian Church
April 4, 2014

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to
His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. . . .

Having gone to my childhood home for Thanksgiving, I was surprised to see a
patch of bare ground in the front yard where a large oak tree had stood.
The tree was one of the last original trees on my parents’ property (only a
hickory in the back yard remains). Though the tree looked mostly healthy on
the outside, my dad was told it was diseased and needed to be removed. Now
that piece of my childhood is just a memory.

One of the things I loved about that old tree, and something my mom loved
about it too, was the patch of resurrection ferns that inhabited the area where
the main branches grew out from the trunk some 10 feet above the ground.
In a continuous cycle, every 3-4 days the shriveled ferns would renew
themselves into bright green leaves only to shrivel again a few days later.
I remember that they had been “resurrected” the day my mom passed away.
What a wonderful reminder to me of mom’s true condition. As the hearse
carrying her lifeless body pulled out of the driveway, I looked up and saw
the fern proclaiming life after “death”.

I guess you could say the verse above is the founding verse of our church
because it is from that verse from which we got our name – Living Hope.
As the verse points out, it is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ that
actually gave us the hope we now have. And that hope is not hibernating,
or shriveled as the fern does in its cycle. It is a living and active hope.

Our faith is not tied to a personal or subjective feeling or experience. If
the object of one’s faith is not true, it doesn’t matter how sincere one’s faith is.
As D. A. Carson has written, “In the Bible it is right to trust this God with the
future, not because of what we do not see or know, but because of what we
have come to know of this God – including such truth as the fact that God
raised his own dear Son from the dead for our justification” (Christ and
Culture Revisited, p110). The object of our faith – the One in which we
have faith, is trustworthy.

Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection to which we look forward (1Co 15.23).
Because He rose after death, we have God’s assurance that so will we. So
Paul wrote, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has
been raised” (1Co 15:13). But since He has been raised, His resurrection proves
that there will be a resurrection of the dead for us. It proves God is true to
His Word. We trust God for the future we cannot see because of the complete
trustworthiness of God’s unchanging character. The author of Hebrews said
it well, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He
who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23).

As you reflect upon the meaning of Easter, give praise to Him who’s death by
the Father’s plan gave you life, and who’s resurrection represents the Father’s
stamp of assurance upon your hope. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped
for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

The picture of the oak tree shows the ferns are in their “dead” state.