Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter

The Resurrection accounts of Jesus in the Gospels are the most dramatic and impactful stories ever told. One similarity unites each testimony–that none of his most loyal and steadfast followers could see it was him, back from the dead. The reason for this is at the very foundation of the Christian faith.

She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)

Hope in the Time of Fear is a book that unlocks the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection for readers. Easter is considered the most solemn and important holiday for Christians. It is a time of spiritual rebirth and a time of celebrating the physical rebirth of Jesus after three days in the tomb. For his devoted followers, nothing could prepare them for the moment they met the resurrected Jesus. Each failed to recognize him. All of them physically saw him and yet did not spiritually truly see him. It was only when Jesus reached out and invited them to see who he truly was that their eyes were open. Here the central message of the Christian faith is revealed in a way only Timothy Keller could do it–filled with unshakable belief, piercing insight, and a profound new way to look at a story you think you know. After reading this book, the true meaning of Easter will no longer be unseen.


When I borrowed this book from the e-library, I had not read the tagline ‘The Resurrection and Meaning of Easter’. Had I read that, I wouldn’t have started this book until, well, Easter, and I would have picked another book to read. It is one of my goals this year to replace the worldly literature I read on a daily basis with gospel-centered books, however there is a shortage of these kinds of books in the local bookstore, and it costs a lot to have them shipped from the US to our country, and there is too much diversity online on Christian beliefs so I find it hard to know which ones are Biblically accurate, and which ones are “just for self inspiration and motivation”.

So I thought, what better way to start with an author you already know and trust. Timothy Keller. I actually cannot remember why I chose this book among his other works, because I was not really at a time of fear in my life. COVID-19 is over now, I am feeling refreshed and renewed because it was just the beginning of a new year. And it’s not the Easter. But I am glad I picked it up, because I have learned a lot about the future hope, and how everything that has happened in the past and what we do in the now is connected to the ‘already here but not yet’ resurrection of Christ.

The overarching theme is the display of the “Great Reversal”, the way to be rich is to be poor, the way to gain life is to lose it, the way to joy is to suffering, the way to be exalted is to humble yourself, the way to life is through death. This is “God’s ironic overturning of human wisdom”. God choses the weak over the powerful, the foolish over the wise, in order to save the world. God saves through the weakness, not despite it.

I loved the way this book uses Biblical history to supplement the themes and arguments in this book. It proves that everything that has happened before, and everything that is written in the Bible is timeless and still relevant, and points the way to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The book started with logical and historical evidence of the resurrection – after all, if Jesus was not raised, then nothing anyone does will in the end make any difference. Then the book goes on to write about how Christ is holding everything together, and how we should know that we do not have merely a hope for the future, but that we have hope that comes from the future. The resurrection is the key to understanding the whole Bible and to facing all challenges of life – suffering, personal change, injustice, moral clarity, and the uncertainty of the future.

Some of my favorite quotes are as follows:

“The greatest threat to our hope for a better world is not the natural environment but the various evils that continually spring from the human heart.”


“Whatever controls us is really our god… The one who seeks power is controlled by power. The one who seeks acceptance is controlled by the people he or she wants to please. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our life.”

Rebecca Pippert (mentioned in Chapter 2, Future Hope)

“There are the good things of this world, the hard things of this world, and the best things of this world – God’s love, glory, holiness, beauty. The Bible’s teaching is that the road to the best things is not through the good things but usually though the hard things, as Jesus himself shows us in Philippians 2:5-11. There is no message more contrary to the way the world understands life or more subversive to its values.”

Chapter 4, Subversive Hope

“Jesus was saying to Thomas, ‘I know all your doubts, all your fears, all your broken promises, and all your flaws. I’ve seen you to the bottom, but I still love you and I’m still here for you.’ Thomas was humbled by Jesus’ grace and suddenly the wounds took on new meaning. He originally wanted to see the wounds as evidence of Jesus’ power. Now he saw them for what they really were – evidence of Jesus’ love, his sacrificial love for him. Jesus was saying, in effect, ‘The wounds are not simply evidence that I am alive. They are proof that I died for you, that your debt was fully paid, and that the power of death over you is broken.”

Chapter 6, Personal Hope: 1

A Christian identity is based ultimately on a realisation of the magnitude of God’s unchanging love for us… The default mode of the human heart is to believe that it is strength that connects you to God, but the gospel says that it is weakness that connects you to God. Only to the degree that you see you are weak are you strong.

Chapter 7, Personal Hope: 2

“We are to examine whether the truth is shaping the habitual affections of our hearts and the practices of our will and character… Paul asks the Spirit to make these truths (Ephesians 3:16-19) so spiritually real and affecting to the heart that they change how they live every day.”

Chapter 8: Hope for You

“This is setting the heart’s affections – the deepest desires of the heart – on Jesus. It is… to meditate on the gloriousness of who Jesus is and what he has done until he begins to attract and incline your heart toward himself.”

Chapter 8: Hope for You

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