Jesus Christ is the supreme necessity of all human history. Put simply, there is no hope without him. Christian hope is not a gauzy sort of wishful thinking but a full confidence that what God has promised is sure. Christian hope has as its foundation both the Person and work of Christ. We believe what the Scriptures testify concerning who Jesus is and what he has done. At the center of His works – and therefore, the center of our hope – stands His cross and resurrection.
At the cross, the sins of all of God’s people, without any exception, were atoned for. Quite literally, Jesus died for his people. He bore the guilt and curse of their sin. In the Person of Jesus, God bore this own wrath that his people could justly receive his inextinguishable mercy.
But if the story of Jesus ended on the cross, we would have no hope and we would still be in our sins. Had Jesus remained in the tomb, our faith would be a tragic fantasy. It was the resurrection that vindicated Jesus as the Son of God, the One worthy to bear our sin and shame. It is the resurrection that completes the good news. The resurrection is the only thing that could justify our calling the day of Jesus’ crucifixion Good Friday.
The good news of the resurrection must be met with faith. As Matthew reports, those who guarded Jesus tomb were witnesses to his resurrection but they remained in their unbelief. So, for them, the resurrection of Jesus could only be a source of fear. But for those who witnessed Jesus Christ risen from the grave and believed upon him, their fear gave way to hope. The darkness that hung over the earth for hours as Jesus died on the cross gave way to dawn on that first Christian Sabbath. And nothing would ever be the same again.