Summary: On Judgment Day, Christ will raise you from the dead. This changes the way we look at the world now.
John 5:25-30 YOU WILL RISE FROM THE DEAD
I would like to start today’s sermon with a riddle – what is this place that I am describing – right now, it is a quite, peaceful place, where you might see one or two people walking around, talking in whispers. But someday, this place will be loud, hustling and bustling with all kinds of people. What place would that be? Right now, the people that go there often feel a sense of confusion, a sense of sadness and despair. But someday, this place will be filled with people who are not confused, not at all. And rather than a place of sadness, it will be a place of unspeakable joy. Right now, this place is considered to be the end of the road. But someday, it will be the beginning. What is this place?
I pass by one of these places when I drive here from my home. I think you know what place this is. There are people there, and they’re all lying down. If you think about it, they’re not really even people, but corpses, left behind in caskets. Of course, this place is a cemetery, and the atmosphere there will be completely changed when Jesus returns on Judgment Day. Right now, quiet and empty, but someday, loud and full of people. Right now, you’ll hear crying, but someday, you’ll hear loud laughter. Rather than the end of the road, it will be looked upon as the beginning.
This morning, Jesus tells us that when he returns, things will be very very different. “Do not be amazed at this,” Jesus says. And as far as you are concerned, either you’ll be alive when Jesus returns, and you’ll see all these things happen with your own eyes, or, you’ll be one of those many people that Jesus raises from the dead.
Every year we celebrate Easter, the day that Jesus rose from the dead after dying on Good Friday. Today, we are focusing you’re your Easter, your resurrection, a day that you can look forward to. It is true, that, unless Jesus returns very soon, you will eventually die. But it’s also true that someday, you will rise from the dead, and you will be alive on this earth once again, just as alive as you are right now. Actually, more-so – the life you will enjoy after you rise from the dead will be much more fulfilling, much more satisfying, much more full of joy and happiness than the life you are living right now.
Today, we are going to focus on your resurrection, your Easter, that day that Jesus returns to raise you. As Christians, we sometimes get caught up in the “here-and-now” – we forget that there are better things, more wonderful things, waiting for us in the future. Even the best things you experience now on this earth pale in comparison to what you will experience beginning on Judgment Day.
There will be no “rapture,” as many people describe it today. There will be no moment when all the believers quietly disappear and all the unbelievers are left behind to continue to live on this earth and suffer for awhile. According to the Bible, at a moment when you least expect it, Christ “himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). At that moment, there won’t be any mystery as to what is going on, as the various movies and books portray it. At that moment, everyone will know exactly what is going on. No matter where you are standing, no matter what you are doing, you will be able to look up, and you will see that it’s over. The world as we know it is finished. Christ has returned.
“Do not be amazed at this,” Jesus says in our text for today. Verse 28: “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out.” It just boggles the mind to picture what that will exactly look like. Whether or not it will be this way, I don’t know, but I picture a cemetery, at first being a very quiet place. But then, instantly, it is filled with people, both believers and unbelievers, alive and looking up in awe at Christ, the great Savior and King of this world.
The Bible pictures something else quite interesting too. In the book of 1 Thessalonians (4:16-17), we are told that those believers in Christ who are raised from the dead will immediately be caught up into the sky to meet the Lord in the air. And what if you are alive when all this takes place? 1 Thessalonians tells us “After 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.”