Eric Barker was a British missionary who spent his lifetime in serving throughout the world. During World War 2 he was serving in the country of Portugal. Times were dark, and the situation became so critical it was advised he send his wife and eight children back to England for their safety. Although his family was forced to leave, he stayed behind to finish the work before going to join them in England.
On the Lord’s day after their departure, Reverend Barker stood before his congregation and said, “I have just received news that all my family arrived home safely”. Then he proceeded with the worship service as usual.
It was not until after the service that the full meaning of Reverend Barkers words became clear. You see just before the service Rev. Barker received a telegram informing him that a submarine had torpedoed that ship his family was sailing, and everybody on board drowned.
Eric Barker knew that because his entire family had trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour they had arrived “safely home”—their heavenly home. And although overcome by grief, he had a sure hope of one day being reunited with his family.
This is the Hope of Easter. While Jesus was ministering on earth, He said this to His disciples in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live”.
But then Jesus was crucified. It was a terrible day. At noon the sun disappeared and everything became frighteningly dark. There was an earthquake. Events took place that even the Roman centurion called out, “Surely he was the Son of God” Mark 15:39
Then after Jesus died his body was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, who bravely stepped forward to claim the body of Jesus. The message that rang out to the world was “Jesus defeated! Jesus defeated”! And all the disciples were gripped with defeat and discouragement.
Then on the third day after the death of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning came the resurrection. Three days after Jesus was buried in that tomb, he rose bodily and physically from the grave. Jesus had conquered death. And the discouragement of the disciples was replaced with joy. Jesus was alive. This is the Hope of Easter.
This is the hope that gave missionary Eric Barker strength to go on after the ship his beloved family was travelling on was torpedoed. This is the hope why this little church in Canada and tens of thousands of other churches around the globe are celebrating this Easter. Jesus has conquered death. He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!
“Darkness fell, his friends scattered, death thought it had won. But heaven just started counting to three” ~Bob Goff~