Do you really understand the awesome wonder and exquisite hope of the Resurrection? I am not sure any of us can fully grasp the breadth of its meaning. Jesus’ Resurrection is the crux of what it means for us to be born again. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were given new life. His death means our sins are forgiven. His Resurrection means we have eternal life. And it means that we too will be resurrected one day. We will die, but we will rise from the grave! The Resurrection is for us too! Chapter 4 verses 13-15 read,
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.”
For the believer, death is temporary. It is a short interruption in eternal life. Paul encouraged us to keep the resurrection in mind, to gain an understanding that death is not the end. 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 reads,
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
We don’t have to mourn death the same way unbelievers do. We have the expectation of eternity with Jesus. We have the promise of Heaven and New Jerusalem. We might miss our loved ones when they die. We might mourn them. But if they are believers as we are, we know we’ll see them again. We don’t have to fear death. We don’t have to despise death. Death is only a short break, a doorway from life on Earth to life in New Jerusalem.
One day Jesus will come back. We will see Him descending in the clouds. We will hear the trumpet blast announce His coming and He will gather us all, first the dead and then the living. Some people dread the day. Some people will realize the horror of their arrogant rejection of Christ. But we believers will experience the ultimate and awesome victory. Verses 16-18 read,
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Sometimes we can get mired in the details of life on Earth. But we are commanded to encourage one another with the promise and hope of Heaven, of Jesus triumphant return, and our resurrection. To do that we have to understand it as well as we can, and we understand it by reading the Scriptures, praying, and encouraging one another.
When will it happen? We don’t know exactly when. Jesus said that even He didn’t know exactly when. Mark 13:32-36 reads,
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
Jesus told us to remain alert, to be watchful. We don’t know the day or hour, but we can watch the times, note the seasons and be expectant and ready. Chapter 5 Verses 1-3 read,
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
We don’t know exactly when but we are to stay alert, ready and watchful. We are to remind each other of that Day. We don’t live life as if none of this will happen, we live life knowing the urgency and importance of salvation in Christ. We, like our Father want everyone to come to Jesus. So instead of living life to satisfy our fleshly desires, we live life with the joy and hope of eternal life. We live life in hopes of bringing people to Jesus by becoming more like Him. We live with the promise of knowing one day we will be perfected and completed. 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 says,
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
Most people are ignorant of the truth of Jesus’ return and our resurrection, but we’re not. Verses 4-8 read,
“But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”
Keeping the hope of our salvation in mind, eternal life in Heaven keeps us able to go through the struggles of life. It reminds us to remain faithful and always loving to one another and to the lost. The lost are headed to eternal death. They are headed to wrath of God, Hell. But not us we have Heaven waiting for us. Don’t we long for them to know the awesome love of God with us? Verses 9-11 read,
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Eternal life begins the moment we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord. Death isn’t death for us. It is a brief interlude. So keep Jesus’ return in mind, keep our resurrection in mind, and encourage each other with that hope.