Summary: To the world says life is about money, possessions and having a good time - but Jesus prays for a better world for his followers
John 17: 24 - 26
A Better World
I am sure some of you have already seen the Christmas advert for Mark’s and Spencer’s on TV. It asks, what does Christmas mean to the Celebrities? There are then references to the Turkey, the food, the tinsel and the pressies - but no mention of what really matters - Jesus Christ. I suppose we are not really surprised by this because it has always been clear that the world has totally the wrong priorities. Life to the world is about comfort, money, possessions, family, friends, having a good time. Their argument of course is that you have to think this way since you only live once. Anna Nicole Smyth now has a TV show in America, which they have started to broadcast here, and it shows just how unsatisfying this world is. She fought for a massive will settlement and as a result is now a multi-millionaire, but has it brought happiness? No! Has it made her a nicer person? No! Has it given her good friends? No! Has it given her good taste? Under no circumstances! She wanted a room in her house covered with bright pink silk and leopard skin on the ceiling! People think their pursuit of happiness in this world is constantly lifting them higher and closer to what they desire, but by the time they discover it is doing the opposite it is too late, because they have already descended to the pit of hell. On the other hand, the Christian, who maybe has sacrificed much, and endured much hardship in this life, even as he is seemingly laid low by the blows and troubles of this life is soaring on wings like eagles. As he sinks into death, he ascends to a better world by far.
1. The Life in Glory
Millions spend a lifetime striving to arrive at positions of great influence and power, only to find that everything they have worked for is taken away by death. This is not so for the believer. But why is the experience of the Christian so different from that of the unbeliever? It is not because the Christian has done anything particularly spectacular, or because of some merit in him or her. The difference is in the will of God. He has decreed such a death would be a triumph, not a tragedy.
Victory, not Defeat - The apostle Paul spoke of this many times, realising that the moment this life was over, he would be experiencing a life beyond imagination. He wanted to depart to be "with Christ". He said that would be "better by far" and that absence from the body would mean he was "at home with the Lord". As we read such words we can sense the anticipation of Heaven and the desire to be there. Doo you have that sort of overwhelming desire? For those who die without Christ there is a real sense of defeat, that all has ended. Of course it hasn’t ended. We all live on forever, and those who are unsaved live on forever in Hell. But not so the saved. Death is no defeat for them, "O death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15: 55-57) - it is a victory.