Summary: What a wonderful day this is, as all over the world people are celebrating Jesus as the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, alive forever more!
Preparation for Eternity
What a wonderful day this is, as all over the world people are celebrating Jesus as the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, alive forever more! But really, we do that every Sunday don’t we? We gather together with fellow Christians to celebrate the First Day of the week. The resurrection day. Early Christians seem to have celebrated the resurrection continuously. Even in greeting each other.
We serve a risen Saviour and look forward to that day when we shall stand with Him in a glorious heavenly home which He has prepared for all who have loved and served Him. At the end of his life, the apostle Paul said, “ For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Tim. 4:6-8)
Notice that the great apostle who wrote the resurrection chapter in the book of I Corinthians looked forward with some positive anticipation to the day when he would go and be with the Lord and ultimately have a new resurrected body like Jesus. He said in his second letter to them: “Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Cor. 5:6-8)
Just yesterday an older person said to me words to this effect: “Life is really hard these days and as the days go by the harder it becomes.” I rather automatically responded. “I really love life. I really do enjoy what God has called me to do.” But as much as many of us love life, we too long for the day when we shall see Him face to face. That great 3Getting Up Morning,2 when we will be with Him and all those people of God who have gone on before, forever more.. The real joy and blessed hope of this season is that we are reminded that ultimately we shall see Him as He is and we will all be like Him. Those who left this earth after their body deteriorated or was afflicted and stricken by illness and disease, shall be in a new place in a new body! I want to see my father and mother once again. I want to see my brothers and sister once more. I look forward to seeing many friends who have gone on before me. Those I have known in the pastoral ministry in a number of churches
We who know the Living Saviour and the truth of His victory over death, hell and the grave, should not look upon death with fear and trepidation, but with a peaceful anticipation. We should rest in the great climatic burst of praise Paul pens at the end of his resurrection chapter: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 15:53-57)
Now don1t get me wrong. I1m not wanting to die. I1m trusting the Lord to give me more days to enjoy life and serve Him, if it is His will. My days are in His hand. I guess I could rightfully say to some degree what Paul said the church at Philippi: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you.” (Phil. 1:23-24)
As I think on this, an incident in my own life comes to mind. I was in my early thirties and we had four very young children. I was taken to the hospital with a very severe bleeding ulcer. The loss of blood was tremendous and I was given transfusion after transfusion. It was touch and go for a few days. They could not easily stop the bleeding. I well remember one night when the night nurse checked me. It seems my blood pressure was dangerously low and my pulse was scarcely detectable. I faintly remember her cry for emergency assistance. The doctor standing over me, surrounded by other medical staff, and my wife standing behind them. I remember his desperate actions as he gave an adrenaline injection and said something to effect, 3If he doesn1t respond in ninety seconds, he is gone.2 I also remember the peace I had with God. But I recall as well my concern for my lovely wife and children. I did not want to leave them. I wanted to see them grow up. Although I was ready to meet the Lord, I asked Him to spare me if it was His will. Praise Him, He did!