Summary: When you see your life from its future perspective, you sense the significance of life itself. Knowing that Christ Himself will evaluate your life, we know every good deed done will be rewarded. Not one item in our lives will be overlooked!
Easter is a time when people turn their attention to Jesus Christ and His resurrection. For millions of people, Jesus’ resurrection offers the hope of life after death. But this year, Easter is unique because it falls on April 1, sharing the date with April Fool’s Day. It’s rare that these two observances fall on the same day, as it hasn’t happened since 1956. Yet, many will think the two holidays celebrate the same thing: fools.
People have always thought Christians were fools for believing in dead bodies rising again. History tells us the ancient Romans felt the Christian belief in the resurrection was foolish. The Roman authorities would leave the bodies of Christian martyrs exposed to the elements for six full days, lying above the ground for all to see. Afterwards, they burned the bodies reducing them to ash. They swept the ash into the nearby Rhone River where one Roman said, “Now, let’s see if they rise again and if their God can help them.” Karl Marx famously said that religion is the opiate of the masses. According to Marx, rulers used the promise of a happy future in eternity to oppress the masses from rising in a revolt.
Are we fools to think there’s life after death?
Stephen Hawking thought so. The former professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge was known for his brilliance and for having Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. Bound to a wheelchair & dependent on a computerized voice system for communication, his lectures were widely attended. Hawking mused on the possibility of the afterlife just three years before his death: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
For many, you simply go out of existence after your death. You feel nothing and you know nothing. Yet, at the heart of Christianity is a cross, and one of the most significant things about that cross is that it is empty. Christians down the ages have been sure that Jesus’ shameful death on those gallows was not the last word about Jesus. He rose from the tomb and triumphed over death.
Today, I want to talk about what Jesus secured for His followers – life after death. And, “Are we fools to think there’s life after death?”
Please find 2 Corinthians 4 & 5.
This Easter, I want to ask, “What does the resurrection secure for Christ’s followers?” Or, what happens to a believer after she dies?
1) Why Should I Care if Jesus is Risen?
“So Jesus rose from the grave?” you ask. “What should I care about the death of a religious figure two millennia ago?”
“knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.” (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Jesus’ resurrection and the believers’ resurrection are inseparably linked together. Now, we see confirmation of this link between Jesus rising and your rising all over our Bibles.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
“When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
“And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Corinthians 6:14)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)
“that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:20–23)