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Easter Gives Us Hope

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As smoke billowed from the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I could hear the world gasp. We grieved at the loss of the architectural masterpiece and all that it represented. The “House of God and the abode of men” was consumed before our eyes. Although it took 200 years to build, substantial portions of the cathedral were destroyed in mere hours.

Already, billionaires have pledged funds to rebuild. Decisions are being made whether the cathedral should be restored using robots or people. There is a debate whether the rebuilt Notre Dame should capture the heritage and glory of its original form or take on a modern look to represent the changes in French culture since the time of the church’s construction in 1163.

The massive damage of the cathedral raised important questions: What did Notre Dame really stand for? What should this new design of wood and stone represent?

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ spoke about the destruction of the temple. He told a questioning crowd, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Those who heard him were in disbelief. They assumed Christ was speaking of the temple in Jerusalem. They rightly wondered how he could claim to construct in 72 hours what took the Jewish people 46 years to build.

The crowd did not understand that when Jesus said “temple,” he meant himself. They were so enamored with the outward beauty of the temple in Jerusalem that they missed the greater significance of Jesus’ message.

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They put their hope in something easy to see rather than something eternal.

Now, two millennia later, many still seek hope in the temporal. We are obsessed with material possessions, with popular reputations, with having the right job, driving the right cars, having the right friends, being invited to the right gatherings, or being perceived as above all of that.

We make idols out of our stock portfolios, our square footage and our bench press. We have taken good things — country, family, work, health and sex — and made them our gods.

But false gods always bring us to ruin. As C.S. Lewis rightly pointed out, even what is beautiful can “turn into dumb idols, breaking the heart of their worshippers.”

We look, reach and then embrace small gods and lesser versions of hope — and then like a vicious fire, they burn us to the ground.

But it is there, in the ashes and rubble of our broken lives, that Jesus offers ultimate hope.

He freely invites us to experience the unfading and indestructible salvation that is only found in Him.

That is why Easter gives hope. Easter is the celebratory remembrance that Jesus conquered death. His resurrection not only obliterates the doom that sin and death brought into our world, but it reveals that Jesus outshines all others as the most worthy recipient of our love and trust.

Flames will devour. Strong walls will fall. Beauty will fade. But this hope remains: Through Jesus, we can be “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

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