There is a phrase that is still engraved on my heart that I read a long time ago. “Faith is to build a house of hope on the hill of despair.” The cross of Jesus was the cross of despair. But Jesus built a house of a hope, which is the resurrection, on the hill of Golgotha, which was despair. The hope of Jesus was the hope of resurrection. Jesus knew what kind of suffering and shame He would go through on the cross (Mark 10:34). Jesus knew that He would be mocked and insulted on the cross. (Lk. 18:32) He knew that the way to the cross would not be an easy path. But Jesus surely knew that He would rise again in three days after He died on the cross. The holy knowledge, the holy conviction, and the beautiful hope provided him the strength to carry the cross.
In Matthew 16, Jesus said He would build His Church after hearing Peter’s confession (Mt. 16:18). He also said that He would give His disciples the keys to the kingdom of heaven as gifts. Shortly after that, Jesus for the first time spoke about the cross and the resurrection. Jesus did not speak of the cross or the resurrection from the beginning as He raised the disciples. If He had talked about the cross from the beginning, all His disciples might have fled. Jesus finally told them about the cross and the resurrection after He trained them for three years.
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Mt. 16:21)
Jesus did not speak of the suffering of the cross only, but also spoke of the resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection was the joy beyond the cross. Jesus’ resurrection was like the shining hope of the sun being revealed behind the dark tunnel of the cross. Jesus, with the hope of the resurrection, proceeded to the cross.
There will be no words as beautiful as hope among the words that we embrace in our lives. There are three most beautiful and precious words in the Bible. They are faith, hope, and love (1Co. 13:13). These three words are the words that make us the richest. These are words that make us mature the most. These three words are connected to each other. When you have faith, you have hope. When you have faith, you will love. To have hope means to have faith. Also, if you love, you will hope, and if you love, you will believe. The saints of the mature church in the New Testament always had faith, hope, and love.
Through Jesus’ cross and resurrection, we meet faith, hope, and love. Jesus believed in the Word and promises of the Father God. He believed that He would rise again after His death on the cross. Because of Jesus’ love for us, He suffered the crucifixion with joy. Jesus also took the cross with the hope of resurrection. Hope means a brighter, more beautiful and blessed future. Hope also means a happier, more peaceful, and more joyful future. Jesus looked at the joy of resurrection and endured the cross. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
The hope of resurrection is the strength to endure suffering. It is the power to overcome today’s difficulties. Hope is like an anchor for the soul (Heb. 6:19). If you hold fast to hope, you will not be swayed. God is the God of hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13). The God of hope poured out abundant hope upon us unto overflowing. We should not have hope in this world. We should have hope in God. God’s hope is a living hope (1Pe. 1: 3). We live in a hard and tough world. But when we live with hope in God, we can win this world. The hope of resurrection is everlasting hope. It is an unwavering hope. May you move forward embracing the hope of resurrection. Let us shout together loudly. “Jesus is risen!”
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.