Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
—Pope John Paul II (1920–2005)
A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
—Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)
Christian hope is faith looking ahead to the fulfillment of the promises of God. Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God himself. Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of his life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God’s own commitment, that the best is yet to come.
—Adapted from Jim Packer (b. 1926)
What happens when a Christian dies is not a matter of speculation, but of certainty based on truth. Something tremendous happened in history that has taken the issue of life after death out of the realm of conjecture and moved it into verified fact. Paul openly and clearly states the reason for his confidence. “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.”1 The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a precedent for the resurrection of all those who are in Christ. In other words, our future resurrection is based on the historicity of Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a peripheral issue, but is central and crucial to the Christian faith. … The fact that Jesus is alive and makes His home in us doesn’t only change our perspective on the next life, but in this life as well, because until we are ready to face death, we will never really know how to live freely. The Christian faith is not about escapism, but about life here and now, lived in the love, strength and wisdom of the presence of Christ within us. In this, we have the assurance of the One who was raised from the dead raising us up to our eternal home with Him.
No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door.
—Peter Marshall (1902–1949)