Easter Saturday was an awful day. Perhaps the worst day for the disciples. Jesus is dead, and they are not yet daring to believe that what Jesus said could possibly come true. All is lost. But of course, we know the rest of the story. Yet today we face a similar travail – though not quite as devastating. We too fear for our physical safety, and for our overall well-being. We sit in our own upper rooms, fearing what could come through the door. But someone in the future might say, but didn’t they know the rest of the story? Yes, actually, we do. Christ will one day triumph. He will bring us home. There will be resurrection. But not yet. So we wait, but not cowering in fear, like the disciples. We wait in hope. The Christian’s hope is not like any other “hope”. Every other hope is a “maybe” – “I hope I get what I asked for for Christmas.” That hope is contingent on the generosity and financial resources of Mom & Dad. Our hope is different. The generosity and resources of “Dad” have already been affirmed, in the resurrection. Therefore, from Romans 8:
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. . . . 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.. . . 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The hope that Paul describes in v. 18 is grounded in the unbreakable chain of v. 29-30. Jesus is the firstborn, the firstfruits. In him the resurrection has already begun. The glory we hope for already gleams at us from the empty tomb. We wait for the rest, in patience – which is how we are conformed to His image.