Words of Hope

Josh WannerDevotions

“He has risen; He is not here.” – Mark 16:6

Last Easter you would have found me sitting on my bed in my pajamas, softly singing along with one of our first recorded services. I spent the day lonely, isolated, and wondering if it really counts as Easter if I can’t be with the people I love. 

I wish I could say the following weeks and months were easier, but we all know the story of this past year too well. I’ve listened as hardworking people are laid off from their jobs. I’ve cried with kids who feel so afraid of what the future holds for them. I’ve sat through funerals of those lost to COVID, including my own grandma. I’ve joined the prayer of millions as I asked God to fix this broken world.

As I pondered the first eight verses of the Easter Gospel today, I realized that many of the emotions I (and many others) have felt this past year must have been shared by Jesus’ friends. Fear, desperation, grief, and stress were not in short supply as Mary, Mary, and Salome headed to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. Death, persecution, and darkness seemed to be winning and hope itself seemed to be lying in a tomb.

But then these three ladies, of no acclaim, status, or wealth, heard the sweetest words in Scripture, “He has risen; He is not here.” Seven words. Seven words and the fear of the future became bearable. Seven words and the desperation of humanity became endurable. Seven words and the pain of grief became temporary. Seven words and the road from that Easter to this one, with all of its ups and downs, became hopeful.

Fear, desperation, and grief won’t disappear in this life, dear friends. But neither will the promise of Salvation. Take some time today to soak in these seven words and everything they mean for you: He has risen; He is not here!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you. Thank you for your death and resurrection. Thank you for connecting me to true hope.

Contributed by Hannah Hayden

Bible Reading

Read John 19:1-30 and record any insights you gain here.

Call to Connection

Reflect on examples of sacrifice you’ve seen in your life. If you can, thank the people who have made that sacrifice. If you can’t, journal a prayer thanking God for their sacrifice.