On the one hand . . .
“Vanity, vanity, says the teacher, all is vanity. . . So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:17
“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep”
Act 3, scene 1
“There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy.”
Le Mythe de Sisyphe
On the other hand . . .
“The two [disciples] were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.”
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens . . . Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
I Peter 1:1-9
Peter knew two things: (1) life is hard, but (2) the tomb is empty. In this world we are “aliens” living as strangers in a strange land. Often we are distressed, our hearts filled with pain and our minds fogged by confusion. Is it any wonder that philosophers through the ages have wondered whether it is worth it to go on struggling?
Peter answers this question with a resounding “Yes, it is worth it!” Because of Jesus’ work at Calvary we have a “living hope” of an imperishable inheritance, and because of this hope even in the midst of our pain we can have a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. Peter knew firsthand what he was talking about. He saw the empty tomb with his own eyes, which is why he was able to write: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16.
Yes, Peter knew. The tomb is empty and there is hope.