Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Our Present and Future

Doesn't seem like our annual remembrance of Jesus' death and resurrection made any impact in the world, does it? After all, terrorists blew themselves up at an Easter celebration in Pakistan, and they are breathing out more threats of violence and destruction. The presidential campaigns seem to be going straight into the gutter on the Republican side and to the FBI on the Democratic. Gun violence continues in the cities. It can get downright overwhelming and depressing.

But wait a minute, Jesus' death and resurrection really did change our world and our lives -- radically. No, it didn't remove evil, pain, suffering and death from the world or our lives -- at least not yet. Jesus will bring that when He returns on the Last Day. But for Christian men, women and children around the world, Jesus' resurrection has changed the whole equation of our lives. Apart from Him, it's just this life alone. If you can't get what you want in this life, you never will. But now a new and unending life stretches before us. It's an eternal life we will share in the presence of our God, in a perfect body, in the company of His redeemed.

In a sense, we are now free to live recklessly: free of fear, doubt and reservation. After all, what's the worse that people can do to us? To be sure, the suicide bombers darkened an Easter celebration, but scores of our Christian brothers and sisters began a never-ending Easter feast, gazing in wonder and joy at the hands, side and feet of their glorious, resurrected Lord. Many will mourn the loss of those who were murdered, and it goes without saying how cowardly, ignorant and vile such an act of violence is. But still the truth remains: because of Jesus' victory over death and sin, we can boldly share our faith and sing songs of thanksgiving, even when the world threatens us, even when the sword is at our throat.

Jesus' resurrection, and the new life it guarantees, have changed our life perspective completely. While we may be disheartened for a time, we don't need to perpetually grieve our children who are born with mental, emotional or physical disabilities -- or even the Zika virus -- because Jesus will completely restore and perfect their bodies and minds when He returns. After this brief life of suffering, there stretches before us an eternity of health, freedom and vitality.

When Paul wrote about the resurrection, he hinted that our new resurrection bodies will be pretty incredible. "What you sow (in the grave) is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as He has chosen" (see 1 Corinthians 15:35-38). Sounds like our new body won't just be this body reanimated to what it was when we were at our peak, but something far surpassing that. Paul says comparing our current body to our new body is like comparing a shriveled-up seed of corn to a fully mature plant standing in the fields.

Yes, we have an incredible future because of what Jesus has accomplished. But we have a pretty outstanding present too. Wherever we are, no matter how high or low we feel, no matter how good or bad our situation, we serve a glorious, wonderful Lord and are surrounded by people who need to know, need to hear what Jesus has done for them. They need to know Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia.

Another Easter has come and gone -- or has it? Christ's resurrection from the dead is proof that Easter is here and now, eternally in the present.

How was your Easter this year? Did you take time to consider the cost Jesus paid for your sins, my sins, the world's sins?

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