Summary: You only live 3 times. No such thing as YOLO, since Jesus has risen.
John 20:19-31 HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS - the resurrection
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
In the early 1920’s in Communist Russia, the great communist Nikolai Bukharin was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address an anti-God rally. For an hour he abused and ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if it were hopeless for anyone to believe in Christianity. Then questions were invited. An Orthodox church priest rose and asked to speak. He walked up behind the podium, faced the people, and gave the Easter greeting, “He is risen!” Instantly the assembly of thousands rose to its feet and shouted back loud and clear, “He is risen indeed!”
The opposite happened on Easter evening. The apostle Thomas walked into the room full of disciples, and the disciples said to him, "He is risen!" And Thomas said, "No he's not!" Later, Jesus took care of Thomas' skepticism, when he appeared a week later. But that skepticism that Thomas expressed has echoed down through the centuries. We live in a "No he's not!" culture. The Christian church says at Easter, "Christ is risen." Not true, our culture says. The Bible says that because Jesus has risen, we also will rise. Because Jesus has risen, we will live, even after we die. Not true, our culture says.
This world is all there is, our culture says. "You only live once," is a cliché used by young people about a year ago. "YOLO," was the acronym. The whole YOLO thing began to die when talk show personalities started to use it because they were trying to be "hip" like the teenagers. A person says, as he is about to do something reckless or stupid - YOLO - you only live once. But if Jesus has risen from the dead, you don't only live once. You only live how many times? 3 times is the real truth - did you realize that? You live once right now. You live a second time at the moment of your death, when you close your eyes and open them in heaven. And you live a third time when you rise from the dead on Judgment Day, just as Jesus rose from the dead on Easter. If Jesus did not rise - then yes, you only live once. But Jesus did rise - and so, you only live three times. That article of faith that we hold to be true - that is one of the most important results of Jesus' resurrection.
Let's take a moment and see Jesus appear to his disciples on Easter night, and let's ponder what it means that Jesus has risen from the dead, how that changes the way we look at life and our existence beyond this life. There is a reason to hope, and today Jesus teaches us that reason,
The Bible describes the disciples locked into a room on Easter night, and that they were afraid and hopeless.
For some time now, they had been following the Teacher, Jesus Christ. They had thought that perhaps he was the Messiah. They had watched his miracles. That had heard his promises. He had said so many good things. But now he was dead. And all the things he had said and done were dead with him. How can you hope in someone who is dead? For those disciples, the world had become a very cruel place – a place of broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, and big disappointments. You can sum up their attitude with one word - hopeless.
Have you ever had a moment like those disciples, a moment when you just want to lock yourself into a room and be by yourself? Has the world ever seemed like a very cruel place to you– a place of broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, big disappointments? The world can be a very difficult place to live, and the Devil uses those difficult moments to make you feel hopeless and despairing. The Devil wants you to say to yourself, “The God you believe in is dead. There is no hope.”
Not only can the world cause us to feel that way. Our own history - our own choices in life - can cause us to feel that way. Look into your past, the Devil says, and consider all the mistakes you have made in life, all the words and actions you wish you could take back, but you can’t, you cannot help but feel a sense of hopelessness. At the time, you were just living for the moment - "you only live once" you thought to yourself. But now there is the guilt. You hurt someone, and that bothers you. You offended God, and that bothers you. And you close your door and you feel hopeless, just like those disciples.