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Love Brings Hope—Startled by Christ’s Love

Introduction: It’s on this day, that we celebrate the startling love of

Jesus from Calvary and the message of hope from the Garden Tomb. Calvary
FOCAL SCRIPTURES: and the empty tomb bring us hope in our darkest hours, hope for life now and
life eternal.
Luke 23:34,43
• John 19:26,27 Jesus did amazing things while He was
• Acts 27:10-24
• Romans 5:5 here on earth. He drew large crowds
• Hebrews 11:1
because of His miracles and unconven-
tional teachings. Christ even startled
• Colossians 3:16 people by the things He said:

I.• Introduction
Matthew 18:4 To the lame man, He said, “Arise, take up
your stretcher and go home” (Luke 5:24).
• Christ’s
Psalm 23 love brings hope
to troubled lives. To the man with a withered hand, Jesus said,
NOTES: “Stretch out your hand” (Mark 3:1). Let’s take a moment now to reflect on how
III. Christ’s love, demon- Jesus loved people and how He startled others
strated through us, can To his friend, Lazarus who had laid in the with demonstrations of His love.
bring hope to our pain- grave for four long days, Jesus said, “Come
filled world. forth!” (John 11:43). • Jesus startled lepers by healing their
disease-ravaged bodies and bringing
IV. Christ’s love empowers Jesus must have even startled His parents dignity to their lives. Christ’s healing love
our message of hope. after they had been looking frantically for was practical and yet startling, since He
their “missing Son”. At the age of twelve, was even known to touch lepers in order
Jesus announced, “I must be about My to heal them. Not even the terrifying
KEY TRUTH: Father’s business!” (Luke 2:49). disease of leprosy (with all it’s physical
When we draw close to manifestations and social stigma)
Christ and frequently reflect Jesus also startled many people by the prevented Jesus from demonstrating His
on His startling love in our things that He did: extravagant love (Luke 5:12, 13, 17:11-19).
own lives, overwhelming
gratitude will fill our hearts. • Christ turned water into wine. • Christ startled the Samaritan woman
It’s gratitude for His love that (John 2:9) when He broke all cultural conventions by
will empower our love of asking her for a drink of water. In the
others. • He walked on water. midst of her shame and rejection, the
(John 6:19) Savior entrusted her with a conversation
about eternal things (John 4:4-26). This
KEY WORDS FOR • Jesus cast demons into swine. seemingly simple interaction showed what
FURTHER STUDY: (Mark 5:11-13) lengths to which Christ would go to
demonstrate His love.
• ambassador • He raised loved ones from the dead.
• forgiveness (John 11:43-44) • Jesus also startled the woman caught in
• acceptance adultery when He knelt down beside her,
• support But there’s something more important joined her at the point of her hurt and
than all of these amazing words and provided protection for her life. Christ
miracles: Jesus startled people with His dispersed her accusers and then offered
love! the woman restoration as He lovingly said,
“Woman, where are they? Has no one
Christ’s words were startling and His condemned you? Neither do I condemn
miracles amazing, but everything He said you. Go now and leave your life of
and everything He did was meant to call sin” (John 8:10-11). Christ rescued a
attention to how He (God) loved. sinner and restored a life, all the while
confirming His startling love.



Page 2 Sermon Notes

Christ’s Love Brings Hope to Troubled Lives
Christ’s love brought hope to those He • And finally, let’s recall one of Christ’s final
loved. The lepers were healed and were encounters with His mother, Mary. Jesus
able to rejoin their families and community. looked down from the cross and saw His
NOTES: The Samaritan woman’s sense of worth was mother standing with His beloved disciple,
restored, and to such an extent, that she John. Once again, Christ displayed His
returned to give testimony to all who would startling, supportive love. Jesus looked
listen. The woman caught in adultery was ahead to His approaching death and made
rescued from the certainty of shame and provision for His mother, “Dear woman,
death and yet must have been overcome here is your son,” and to John, “Here is
with the joy of her new-found freedom and your mother.” And as confirmation of this
restoration. provision, the Bible says that from that day
forward, Mary lived in the house of John
Each page of the Gospels is filled with (John 19:26, 27).
encounters of Christ’s startling love and
the hope He brought to troubled lives. Today is the day that we celebrate the amazing
demonstration of love through Christ’s death
And now as we reflect this Easter season on at Calvary., confirmed by the empty tomb. Yet
the gift of Christ at Calvary, let’s consider even as we recall Christ’s words from the
some of Christ’s final words from the cross. cross, we see His amazing forgiveness, accep-
These too, reflect the startling love of Jesus. tance, support and love for others.
Even at the point of His death, Christ
was still startling others with His love: Colossians 3:16 Preparation:
“Let the word of Christ dwell deeply in you.”
• Imagine how Jesus must have startled
the Roman soldiers who stood beneath Pastor: Take a few moments to consider your
His cross. The very men who had own life and how Christ’s love has touched
mocked Him, tortured Him, driven nails you. How has He startled you (like the soldiers
into His hands and feet, and gambled for at Calvary) with His unconditional forgiveness?
His clothing, would have heard Jesus Just like the thief on the cross, how has Christ
say, “Father, forgive them, for they do extended His acceptance for you at a point of
not know what they are doing” (Luke failure? And just like Mary, how has Jesus
23:34). provided His support for you during a time of
struggle? Pastor, consider sharing these times
• Consider the thief who was crucified as part of your own testimony of how God has
next to Jesus. After a lifetime of decep- demonstrated His startling love for you. Let
tion and sinful choices, the man must this vulnerable testimony of hope become a
have been startled to hear Jesus’ words part of your sermon.
of acceptance: “Today, you will be
with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Personal Application: You may be
here today with these same needs. You too,
may need Christ’s forgiveness, His acceptance
or His support. Our encouragement for you
today is: Don’t leave this place today without
allowing Him to meet your needs!

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 5:5).



Page 3 Sermon Notes

Christ’s Love, Demonstrated Through Us, Can
Bring Hope to Our Pain-filled World
Christ’s Love, Demonstrated In this short movie
Through Us, Can Bring Hope to Our clip, Tyler’s mother
Pain-filled World is struggling with the
overwhelming pain of
In case we’re not convinced that our her son’s impending
world needs the startling love and hope of death. Let’s watch as
Jesus, just think … Maddie shares a
difficult truth with Letters to God
During the next 60 minutes, it is estimated her own Mother.
that (within the United States): Maddie apparently knows the right Bible
verses, but she needs something more!
• More than150 people will be Watch and consider what you might say to
diagnosed with cancer this grief-stricken mom?

• At least 64 people will die from Insert Letters to God movie clip
When people are struggling, what do they
need? If it’s not enough just to give Bible
• 10 people will die from alcohol abuse
verses, then what does it look like to care?
• 2 people will die from illicit sexual
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as
behavior though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled
• 2 people will die from illicit drug use
to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
• 3 people will die from suicide This verse explains that people all around us
need compassionate ambassadors of Christ’s
• 5 people will die from traffic accidents love. They need Bible verses with skin on!

Could you join me in this goal? Could you

Here’s an important question for each of stand with me in this heart’s desire?
That our church family would be more
Would you and I know how to share the widely known as a Community of
compassionate love of Christ to a family Hope—a place where Christ’s forgive-
member or friend who was touched by ness, acceptance and support are
issues like these? Would we know what to abundantly available.
say to friends who have dealt with these
painful circumstances? How would we Here’s our opportunity:
care for them? How would we show them As we go about our daily routine, we have
Christ’s love? the incredible opportunity to be an ambassa-
dor of God—an ambassador that loves and
Think about what you might say to some- cares like Jesus!
one who has just been diagnosed with
cancer. Contemplate what you might say Whether we encounter a friend who is
to a mom who’s son or daughter has been experiencing sickness or dealing with the
given only months to live. death of a loved one, a family member who
is making destructive choices, or someone
Before we’re sure of our answer, let’s who is simply feeling alone, each of us has the
watch a clip from Letters to God. privilege to offer Christ’s startling love.



Page 4 Sermon Notes

Christ’s Love Empowers Our Message of Hope

And after each encounter with the Christ

NOTES: who lives inside us, people’s lives can be
filled with new-found hope.

Christ’s Love Empowers Our Message

of Hope

Let’s remember again Christ’s startling love

at Calvary. He ...

• Forgave those who had wounded

and rejected Him.

• Accepted a thief before he had


• Supported His mother, even while

suffering excruciating pain and sacrificing
Himself for all of humanity.

Think of Christ’s loving initiative. Remember

His forgiveness, acceptance and support.
Then pause to review the people who are a The message of Easter gives us our answer.
part of your life. You have been placed in
your family, in your place of work, and in First, Easter shows us the ultimate gift of
your community as His ambassador. Jesus gracious compassion and a message of hope.
longs to share His love and hope through Hope is ours because in spite of His
you. Christ wants to demonstrate His tremendous personal pain, Christ startled
forgiveness and acceptance through you. He people with His love. What might that look like
wants to communicate His support through on a human level?
your actions and your words.
A final, short clip from Letters To God depicts an
8-year-old boy as an ambassador for Christ. In
Experiencing the Word: “Speak Lord spite of his tremendous personal pain, even as
thy servant listens” (I Sam 3:8-9). he struggles with his own mortality, Tyler is on
a mission from God—he is thinking of others
Let’s pause quietly before the Lord and ask
God to bring a name or a face to your mind. around him and their need of Christ.
Ask God to speak to you about someone
Insert Clip from Letters to God
who needs to encounter a compassionate
ambassador. Ask God to show you a person Easter also shows us that death and the grave
who might need your demonstration of His were powerless in the face of God’s love. It is
forgiveness, acceptance or support. this same power that will enable us to live as
His ambassadors. But how will we access this
How are we going to live as Christ’s ambas-
sadors? It may seem impossible for you to
arrive at a place where you could offer hope When we draw close to Christ and frequently
to others when you’re just getting by your- reflect on His startling love in our own lives,
self. So where are we going to get the overwhelming gratitude will fill our hearts. It’s
power to live a life of caring for others? gratitude for His love that will empower our
love of others.



Page 5 Sermon Notes

Christ’s Love Empowers Our Message of Hope

The Hebrews writer refers to what we call, Finally, can you hear Jesus’ words of support
NOTES: “Easter” when he writes: for His mother? Can you hear His attentive
care? Have there been times when you
Another priest has arisen (not on the basis needed to know that Jesus noticed your
of his ancestry, but )… on the basis of the needs and was acting on your behalf?
power of an indestructible life (Hebrews Draw near to God today and hear Christ’s
7:15-16). Jesus Christ is now our inter- words of loving support for you. Jesus sees
cessor and our priest because He alone, can your needs and He will lovingly provide.
claim the power of an indestructible life.
And Christ, our priest, brings in a better Encountering Jesus
hope, through which we can draw near to Imagine Jesus’ agony on the cross. He was
God (Hebrews 7:19). prepared to take upon Himself the sins of the
world. Jesus sensed that His own Father had
The great High Priest, Jesus, is our turned His back on Him. He cried out with a
“better hope” through the Easter voice that conveyed a feeling of utter abandon-
testimony of His indestructible life! ment: “‘My God, my God, why have you for-
saken me?’” (Mark 15:34). Yet there He hung
Today is a special time to draw near to God upon a cross, startling people with His love. He
and celebrate the startling love of Christ was dying, yet He was thinking of those around
who gave Himself for you at Calvary. Him...the soldier, the thief, His Mother. Jesus
was giving up His life, yet He was giving life to
Let’s take a few moments and consider how others—so that they might know His love.
startling it is that He demonstrated a love That is the startling love of Christ.
that was so undeserved! He loved us when
we were unlovable. He was moved with For whom did Christ do all of this? For whom
compassion when, from His eternal did He suffer and die? Listen as the Spirit
perspective, He saw us suffering in our alien- whispers, “He did it for you!” If He did not
ation and aloneness. Christ’s love led Him need to die for anyone else, He would have
to a painful death upon a cross in order to done it just for you! Allow this wondrous truth
make abundant provision for you and me. to motivate you to walk in the hope of His
love. And now would you join me in receiving
Can you hear His startling cry of love for His startling love through a bold declaration of
those who betrayed, tormented, and faith: “He did it for me.” Say it with me:
rejected Him: “Father, forgive them, for “He did it for me.” Let’s pause, be still and
they do not know what they are do- personally reflect on the startling love of Jesus
ing” (Luke 23:34). Have you needed His poured out for you and me.
words of love and forgiveness? Have you
ever betrayed Him? Rejected Him or turned
against Him? Why don’t you draw near to
God today and receive His forgiveness in a
new and special way?
Listen again as He speaks accepting words
to the thief: “Today you will be with Me in
paradise” (v. 43). Have you ever needed
to know that you are still accepted by
God? Have their been times when you’ve
needed the reassurance of a welcoming
Christ? Draw near to God and receive the
Savior’s words, “You will be with Me”?



Page 6 Sermon Notes

Christ’s Love Empowers Our Message of Hope

Now since we are beneficiaries of His

forgiveness and compassionate care and
are empowered by the gratitude of how
“He did it for me,” let’s bring this message
of hope to others around us. Humbled by
His matchless grace, we have been made
partakers of His divine love. Therefore, we
are now equipped to startle others with His
love. People around us need to see a living
model of God’s love in action. So during this
week, how could you begin to startle others
with His love.

Who among your family, friends,

co-workers and acquaintances could benefit
from . . .

• His forgiveness through you (no matter

what their sin)?

• His acceptance through you (even

before they change)?

• His support through you (even if they

have not asked)?

Could you pray with me now?

God, may you often remind us of how you have startled us with your love. Keep us
grateful and humble. Empower us to take Your startling love of forgiveness, acceptance
and support to others around us.

God, help me to express your love to _______________ this week. I know he/she may
especially need your forgiveness/acceptance/support. Lord, make me an ambassador of
Your hope.

Lord,M ak e m e an
Am bassador of Hope



Page 7 Additional Studies

Notes: Romans 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our
NOTES: hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5 NKJV).

Hope: ἐλπίς elpís

1. The NT concept of hope is essentially governed by the OT. Only when the sphere is
secular does the group denote (good) expectation; cf. “counting upon” in Luke 6:34; 1
Cor. 9:10, etc., or with more of an accent on “hoping” Luke 23:8; 24:21; Acts 24:26;
Rom. 15:24; 1 Cor. 16:7. The OT element of trust is strong when the relation is to per-
sons, as in 2 Cor. 1:3; 5:11; 13:6. Trust in persons is the point in 1 Cor. 13:7, though it
rests on trust in God (v. 13).
2. When fixed on God, hope embraces expectation, trust, and patient waiting. It is linked
to faith, as in Heb. 11:1, which stresses the certainty of what is divinely given. Rom.
8:24-25 makes not only the formal point that we do not hope for what is visibly present
but also the material one that what is visibly present offers no basis for hope since it
belongs to the sphere of the sárx. Hence we have to wait patiently, in hope believing
against hope, i.e., unable to count on controllable factors and hence thrown back on
God (Rom. 4:18). Patient endurance is the main point in Rom. 5:4; 1 Th. 1:3; Heb. 6:11,
but sure confidence is meant in 1 Cor. 15:19; 2 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:20; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet.
1:21. The main difference from the OT is that the act of salvation has now been accom-
plished in Christ, so that hope itself is an eschatological blessing, and there is every
reason for confidence such as Paul has in the Corinthians (2 Cor. 1:12ff.). Hope rests
on faith in the act of salvation (Rom. 8:24-25) and is sustained by the Spirit (vv. 26-27).
It is an integral part of the Christian life (Rom. 15:13; 12:12). As such it goes closely with
faith and love (1 Th. 1:3; 1 Cor. 13:13). It endures even when we attain to sight, for its
focus is not on what is to be given but on the God who gives it and will maintain it when
it is given. Endurance may be stressed in this life (Rom. 5:2, 4-5), but our waiting is con-
fident, for we are saved by hope (Rom. 8:24).
3. elpís occurs only rarely in John (cf. Jn. 5:45; 1 Jn. 3:3), but is embraced here by
pístis, or by endurance in Revelation. The element of waiting for the eschatological fu-
ture is prominent in Col. 1:5; 1 Tim. 4:10; Acts 23:6 (the resurrection), but hope is itself
an eschatological blessing in Matt. 12:21; 1 Pet. 1:3, and cf. Christ as our hope in Col.
1:27 and hope as a gift in 2 Th. 2:16. No pictures of the future are given (except in
Revelation), so that trust in God’s act is always a constitutive element in the Christian’s
hopeful expectation.
[R. BULTMANN, II, 529–35]
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

Disappoint: καταισχύνω kataischýnō

The meanings are: “to shame” (1 Cor. 11:4-5), “to bring to shame” (1 Cor. 1:27), “to be
ashamed” (Luke 16:3), almost “disillusioned” (Phil. 1:20). aischýnē means
“disgrace” (Heb. 12:2; Jude 13), with a play on the sexual sense in Rev. 3:18. aischrós
means “what is disgraceful” (1 Cor. 11:6; Eph. 5:12; Tit. 1:11). aischrótēs occurs only in
Eph. 5:4 where it refers to “shameful talk.”
[R. BULTMANN, I, 189–91]
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.



Page 8 Additional Studies

Notes: Romans 5:5

Love: ἀγάπη agápē

NOTES: Paul sees the new situation clearly. Thus his argument in Rom. 1ff. climaxes in a hymn
which moves on from our love for God to Christ’s love for us and then to the assurance
of God’s love in Christ (8:28, 31ff.). He makes three main points: (1) God sent his Son
even to the cross in love; (2) God calls his elect in love; (3) God sheds his love abroad
in their hearts. God’s eternal love is indistinguishable from Christ’s love (Rom. 5:8;
8:37), in which it becomes a world-changing event. This love implies election, which
includes both pretemporal ordination and temporal calling. The elect community is in
fellowship with God, and he endows it with the active and compelling power of love
(Rom. 5:5) in fulfilment of his own primary purpose of love.
[E. STAUFFER, I, 35–55]
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

Poured out: ἐκχέω ekchéō

Lavishing divine gifts or powers in fulfilment of Joel 3:1-2 is the point in Acts 2:16ff. As in
the OT the outpouring of the Spirit means both ecstatic inspiration and inner renewal (cf.
Ezek. 39:29), so the same word occurs both for the giving of tongues (Acts 10:45) and
the granting of the Spirit in baptism (Tit. 3:5). In Rom. 5:5-6 the overflowing love of God
shown in Christ’s death brings us constant assurance by the Holy Spirit.
[J. BEHM. II, 467–69]
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

Hearts: καρδία kardía

1. The thought that the heart is the central organ and the seat of physical vitality occurs
in the NT only in Luke 21:34 and Jms. 5:5.
2. There is in the NT a rich usage of kardía for a. the seat of feelings, desires, and pas-
sions (e.g., joy, pain, love, desire, and lust; cf. Acts 2:26; Jn. 16:6; 2 Cor. 7:3; Rom.
10:1; 1:24); b. the seat of thought and understanding (cf. Matt. 7:21; Jn. 12:40; Acts
8:22; Mark 11:23; Rev. 18:7; Rom. 1:21); c. the seat of the will (e.g., Acts 11:23; 2 Cor.
9:7; Luke 21:14); and d. the religious center to which God turns, which is the root of reli-
gious life, and which determines moral conduct (e.g., Luke 16:15; Rom. 5:5; 8:27; Eph.
3:17; Heb. 8:10; 2 Pet. 1:19; as the heart of the sinner, Mark 7:21; Jn. 12:40; Eph. 4:18;
Jms. 1:26; as the heart of the redeemed, Matt. 11:29; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Th. 3:13; Col. 3:22; 1
Pet. 3:15; Jms. 4:8, etc.).
3. The meaning “inward part of the earth” occurs in Matt. 12:40.
[J. BEHM, III, 608–14]
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

Given: δίδωμι dídōmi

Since love is depicted as a gift in the NT, dídōmi is a common term, especially in John.
Jesus is what he is by God’s gift. God gives him his works (5:36), disciples (6:37), name
(17:11), all things (3:35). Jesus himself gives his life (Mark 10:45), himself (Gal. 1:4), his
body (Luke 22:19).
[F. BÜCHSEL, II, 166–73]
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.