March 24th, 2016

The Hope of the Resurrection

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The hope of the resurrection dramatically alters our perspective in two very critical ways.

First, the hope of the resurrection impacts how we view life and death:

This is particularly true when we face the grief of losing a loved one to death. The apostle is not so cold or foolish to assume that the child of god need not grieve. Loss is loss! We ache when our relationships are torn from us by that ever present enemy death. But in the midst of the pain and loss, Paul reminds us that as followers of Christ we have an advantage. He wrote, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” ((1 Thessalonians 4:13)

In the first century, as Christian doctrine took shape, the believers at Thessalonica had questions. And a critical one was this: What happens to our loved ones who die?

Paul’s answer in verses 14-18 is that we can be comforted in the promise of a future reunion that will never end. Our relationships may be interrupted by death here on earth, but this is not the final chapter. We still feel the pain of loss, but it doesn’t need to consume us. We sorrow, but not as do the rest who have no hope.

Christ’s victory over death secures a hope that not only gives us confidence as we face death, it also gives us the joyful expectation of reunion in Christ as we struggle with the loss of loved ones. His resurrection gives us hope as we as we experience the grief and sorrow of the valley of the shadow of death.

Second, the hope of the resurrection gives vitality to the Christian experience.

Our life on earth is not just about what happens while we’re here. It’s also our preparation for eternity. Paul wrote, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)

It’s been said that that following Christ is the greatest life there is, even if there were no heaven. Obviously, Paul disagreed! according to him, if that were true, Christians are people deserving of pity. Why? Because there’s nothing to look forward to. We’ve been duped.

But this isn’t all there is. Far from it!If we are to live effectively for Christ in this life, it will be because we have hope in the promise of eternal life. Therefore, this hope that is grounded in Christ’s resurrection will shape the way we approach life on earth because it gives us a future perspective.

On a practical level, this means that the resurrection gives us wonderful assurance. Christ who conquered the greatest of our enemies is able to help us face all of life’s struggles and challenges.

Reflection

How does Christ’s resurrection give you hope in times of trouble?

Prayer

May the hope that is the cross and the resurrection remain in our hearts forever. May they remind us that no matter what You have finished the race and have defeated the enemy which we have most feared. Give us the strength to continue to carry our crosses to that same finish line.

Amen

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