“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men most miserable.”
1 Corinthians 15:17-19
The scene repeats itself minute by minute. Someone takes the last breath of life on this earth. Death is no respecter of persons – young, old, male, and female; black or white – color doesn’t matter; saint or sinner. Death leaves someone grieving by a graveside.
That’s the sad news. But the happy news tells us life does not end be the graveside. In fact, no one is left in the grave. The only thing found there is the body that housed the person. The sad news – many die to face death eternally apart from God. They will remain in darkness and torment forever. The happy news – many leave their bodies behind to be with the Lord for evermore for He has told us –
“I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?”
Stories of hope:
Job sat covered in boils with no relief from the pain. Before his pain came heartache from the sudden loss of his children, and possessions. Now he sat in his misery listening to so-called friends as they judged him. And God’s remained silent to his cries. In lack of understanding, he bemoaned his Maker.
“He hath stripped me of my glory,
and taken the crown from my head.
He hath destroyed me on every side,
and I am gone:
and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.”
When his friends judged him, his neighbors loathed him, and his loved ones left him, Job looked to the heavens and remembered the one thing that would bring him comfort. By faith, he speaks –
“For I know that my redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself,
and mine eyes shall behold, and not another,
though my reins be consumed within me.”
As Job finds hope and comfort in knowing his Redeemer lives, we can know the same. He has not left us alone or without hope when we face the worst of life. He lives. Job knew it though he had not seen him. Thousands of years later, the disciples walked with their Redeemer but were slow in believing His resurrection. To them and over 500 others Jesus –
“shewed himself alive after his passion
by many infallible proofs,
being seen of them forty days,
and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
Peter, the other disciples, Paul, and many others through the centuries have given their lives to proclaim the truth of the resurrection. They knew without the resurrection, we have no hope and the grave is all that remains.
With eyes of faith, we can see our resurrected Redeemer today. For He lives. And God has –
“raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
One day our eyes of faith will turn to sight when our Lord, our Resurrection and Life comes for us –
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
and with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16,17
And When we sit at the table with him –
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come…
Blessed are they which are called
unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
If this life is all there is, what’s our purpose? But praise God, we have a hope in life here and beyond for –
“now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the firstfruits*
of them that slept.”
*[We are the fruits to come]
Having this knowledge Paul exhorts us to –
- “Awake to righteousness,
- and sin not;
- for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34
We who are followers of Christ, walk in the power of the resurrection and the life of Christ. The hope, the life, the power of the resurrection we have freely received, may we freely share with those “who have not the knowledge of God.”
This world offers band-aids of hope. Jesus offers a life of hope. Where do you put your hope?