Summary: When Jesus was crucified on a Friday, He knew that Sunday was coming. When we go through "Friday experiences," we can also look forward to Sunday--the day of our resurrection!
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[This sermon was introduced with the video “Sunday’s Comin’” by Igniter Media Group.]
Jesus was crucified on a Friday. That day was filled with brutality, humiliation, pain, and death. But Jesus knew that Sunday was coming. He knew that He would rise again.
In this life, we go through our own Friday experiences: sickness, pain, sorrow, disappointment. But there is also a Sunday coming for us. There is a future day of resurrection for every follower of Christ.
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Because of Good Friday, we can look BACK and not be afraid. Because of Easter, we can look AHEAD and not be afraid.
“So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:6-11).
Jesus was crucified, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will one day return to earth.
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant [uninformed] about those who fall asleep [those who have died before the coming of the Lord], or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (v. 13).
At least some of the Thessalonians had only recently been converted from a pagan culture in which death was associated with a complete lack of hope.
“Hopes are for the living; the dead are without hope.”—Theocritus (Idyll, 4.42)
Paul doesn’t say the Thessalonians should not grieve, but that they should not grieve in the same way as those without hope grieve. Grief at a Christian friend’s death is normal, but a grief of despair is a denial of hope itself.