“Jesus not only died, but came back to life...”
John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (NIV® 84)
John 11:25b-26a I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV® 84)
1 Corinthians 15:20b Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (NIV® 84)
Years ago, my mother-in-law planted a whole bunch of tulips. The next year she waited for them to come up, but not one single one came. Can you imagine the sinking feeling she must have had as day after day went by on the calendar and there were no flowers? But just think if she had seen one come up early in the season, wouldn’t that have made her almost certain that the rest would follow, that they would have life too? This is what Jesus’ resurrection does for us.
There are times we might be tempted to wonder about having life. What about when my loved one dies, I see them lying motionless in the casket, and everything my eyes are telling me indicates that this is it for them? What about when I am facing the end of my life here on earth, when my body seems to be giving up, and my eyes have no way of detecting what lies beyond that? But the fact that Jesus not only died, but came back to life himself, leaves us no doubt that every promise he gave us about eternal life in him is true. He died for our sins to take them all away, so we would be saved from the death they deserve. When he rose from the dead he left no doubt that he had accomplished it. Jesus truly is the resurrection and the life. He is the one in whom all our sins are forgiven. He is the one in whom the grave has been conquered for you and me. He is the one in whom we are given the gift of eternal life.
Simply by believing in Jesus and what he has done for us, we have already crossed from death to life. We are no longer slaves to sin, but are set free to serve our Savior with the spiritual life we already have. We know when our bodies die, our souls will live on in heaven with Jesus. We know that on the Last Day, just like Jesus came back to life that our bodies will live again in glory and perfection. Because Jesus rose from the dead first, we know that we will follow and rise from the dead as well.
How comforting this is when we are by the casket of a fellow believer. How comforting it is as we go through life without the familiar sound of their voice, without the smile on their face that would always lift our spirits. How comforting it is when our time on this earth seems to be coming to a close. Jesus’ resurrection means we can be certain that fellow believer we love so dearly lives on. It means that we can be certain that we will see them again. It means we can be certain that someday we will share in the amazing blessings that they are enjoying right now. It means we can be certain that on the Last Day we will rise in glory and honor just like our Savior.
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Andy DeGier