Easter, Our Christian Hope

The Resurrection of Christ, Jacopo Robusti, Tintoretto, Oil on canvas. 350 x 230 cm. 1565, San Cassiano, Venice. (Photo: Lluís Ribes Mateu/Flickr)

In this world that’s overwhelmed with strife, division and evil, does Easter matter? We are surrounded by the Good Friday drama, as nations are torn in painful schism, as human rights violations destroy the lives of innocent people around the world.

In this world full of brutal blockades threatening the very existence of innocent human beings, does it make a difference that one Sunday morning long ago a stone was rolled away from a tomb? That love triumphed over hate, good over evil, light over darkness, life over death?
The past three months have been trying times for the people of Artsakh and Armenia. They have suffered enough, and they are yearning for the restoration of normal life. Since December 12, 2022, the Lachin Corridor, the only road leading in and out of Artsakh, has been blocked off by Azerbaijan, leaving 120,000 Armenians trapped in Artsakh. The blockade has caused shortages of electricity and gas, medicine and food. It has affected hundreds of separated families.

In addition to this man-made disaster, the earthquakes in southern Turkey and northern Syria have devastated many people, including fellow Armenians.

In the wake of these heart-rending realities, does Easter matter? Does Easter make any difference in the lives of people? More than ever, it does. The Easter message is one of hope. It tells Christian believers not to despair when their life plans are disrupted and their dreams are shattered because God is still in charge. We are Easter people, because we know our Lord is victorious and has given us the strength, power and will to live triumphantly. The joy of our Easter celebration is more than a passing event. It is symbolic of the joy of being with a Risen Savior and the promise of the newness of life He brings.

The Bible and the history of the Christian church tell us that Christians have dared to have hope in the face of discouraging facts, not because they hoped that things would get better but because they believed God was at work even in depressions and sufferings. St. Paul said in his Epistle to the Romans: “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Neither human resilience, nor positive thinking—or Pollyanna-type optimism—can engender real and enduring hope. Only God does. It is He Who enables us to hope in the face of apparent hopelessness. When we taste defeat and hopelessness, He gives us hope to endure. When we are bewildered, He is our hope for guidance. When we are bruised, He is our hope for healing. When we are bereaved, He is our hope for solace.

This is true on an individual as well as national level. How else can one explain the survival and enduring power of the Armenian people in the face of all evil designs that were cast against them? Despite the horrors that have been endured by the Armenian generations of the past, despite the darkness of the Armenian Genocide, despite the demonic forces that sought the destruction of our people, somehow the Christian hope survives; it nourishes and keeps us. The Bible says Christian hope does not depend on our state of feeling. It is God’s gift. It never disappoints (Romans 5:5). It is steadfast (1 Thess. 1:3).

We Armenians live in Christian hope because of what God has done in Christ through His resurrection. Christ lives and reigns triumphantly. Because He is a triumphant Lord, those who believe in Him shall also live victorious lives. This is the message of Easter and Christian hope. Yes, Christians live in the present with confidence and face the future with courage.

Kristos haryav ee merelotz.
Orhnyal eh harootyunen Kristosi.

Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian is the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.
Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

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