Dear Fellow Children of God,
More than once I have been at the hospital with a patient and their family when the doctor has shared bad news. “There is nothing we can do, except make you comfortable.” In such situations it is like the air is sucked out of the room. Most often people go to the hospital hoping for a cure for their ailment or disease. We trust doctors. We are thankful for the amazing advances of modern medicine. But, when a doctor tells us there is no hope for recovery, when medical science seems to have no answers, it can be a devastating blow from which we know no recovery.
There is an old saying, “The only sure things in life are death and taxes.” While I’ve known some who don’t pay income taxes at least, no one escapes death. It is one of those things in life we know is inevitable. We may not know when death is coming, but we know that it is coming. There is no escape.
It wasn’t this way at the beginning of God’s creation. Death was not inevitable. God created the world in wisdom and love, and death was not part of life. However, people have rebelled against God in selfish disobedience. There is no one who doesn’t think and feel and act in ways that serve ourselves, hurt others, and ignore God. And the consequence of this rebellion and sin is death. We cannot escape.
But, on that first Easter morning God’s love and power changed the inevitable. Jesus, the perfect Son of God died on Good Friday for the sins of the whole world, and on Easter morning Jesus walked out of His grave alive. This is not just a rumor, but Jesus was seen alive many times by his disciples and over 500 people. Even Jewish and Roman historian (Josephus and Pliny) write about Jesus, who rose from the dead.
Christmas is one of the most important days for the world, because God showed His love when Jesus came to this earth. But Easter is even more life-changing. With His Easter resurrection Jesus, acting in power and love, has accomplished the reason for His Christmas coming.
Jesus didn’t just come to this world so He could personally overcome sin and death. With His Easter resurrection Jesus offers forgiveness and eternal life in heaven for all who believe. Bodily death may still be inevitable in this life. But, because Jesus rose the inevitable defeat of death has become simple a doorway to eternal life in heaven. Listen to God’s description of heaven for His children, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:3-4)
And Jesus’ Easter victory does not just change what happens after death, it changes our life now. Since we know that Jesus rose and believers will join Him in heaven, we can face the trials of life head on, because God forgives us and gives us eternal life in Jesus. Since we know that God has heaven waiting, we can face death with courage and faith. Death is no longer the end, but the beginning of God’s gift of eternal life.
I’ve been with people in the hospital who were told there was no hope, but in some cases the doctors were mistaken and those people recovered. Death may seem like the final defeat. But, the truth is that Jesus’ Easter rising is God’s ultimate act of victory and love.
I pray Jesus’ Easter victory gives you strength and joy as you face the trials of this world, knowing God has eternal life waiting in heaven for all who believe in Jesus.
A Child of God, Living in Jesus’ Easter Victory,
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.