Resurrection: true hope and purpose

The recent Oscars reminded me of one of the unexpectedly thoughtful movies from the past year, Barbie. Maybe you didn’t watch it (surprisingly, I enjoyed it), but for a movie purporting to be light-hearted, it explored some of the deeper questions of life, like death and purpose.

In Barbieland, women can be almost anything: President, an astronaut, a pilot, a construction worker. Every day seems perfect, until in the middle of a dance number, Stereotypical Barbie (played by Margot Robbie) becomes Existentialist Barbie, asking her friends, “Do you guys ever think about dying?”. This question makes the Barbies feel profoundly uncomfortable. Death makes Barbie’s life begin to fall apart. Similarly for us, death feels like an unwanted intruder. We don’t want to talk about it, we try to ignore it, but we can’t escape it.

Another fascinating question is that of purpose. Ken struggles with finding his identity. He feels that he’s defined by being Barbie’s boyfriend. He says to Barbie, “I don’t know who I am without you”. Eventually, Barbie helps him to realise he is enough (or “Kenough”, as the movie puts it). Ken has to work out who he is himself and not be defined by his relationships.

Whilst Barbie playfully asks profound questions, it doesn’t get close to providing satisfying answers. Maybe you’ve had this melancholic thought: how do we make sense of life when regardless of hard work, good planning, meaningful relationships, or achievements, we all end up in the same place?  In other words, how can we find purpose in life that doesn’t get beaten up by death?

Christianity speaks of a Saviour who has defeated death

This weekend, millions of people around the world will remember the old story of Jesus from Nazareth, who was crucified outside of Jerusalem around 33AD. The reason why Christians celebrate Easter is not because of what happened on Friday, it’s because of the Sunday. It’s not because Jesus was executed – after all, everyone dies – it’s because of the claims that he rose from the dead. The Apostle Peter says that God has given us a “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Pet. 1:3-4).

Christianity stakes everything on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. It speaks of a Saviour who has defeated death, who pardons you and covers you with his love. Once you come to believe and trust in Jesus, you are united with him. Death doesn’t break this union. It’s a union that’s more basic than life itself. This means that you can face the most difficult problems of life with hope, including death.

If the resurrection is true and Jesus has power over death, then it means he is who he claimed to be, the Son of God. It means that Jesus has complete rights over you. He gives you a profound purpose. Life isn’t about Jesus giving you what you want in life to further your own agenda. It’s about us serving him. That’s the most satisfying life we can live.

Are you a person who’s been shaped by the transforming news of Easter?