|Messiah Lutheran Church||
6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
"Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!" This traditional greeting dates back to the Lord's disciples, as they confessed the certainty of Christ's Resurrection! That He had risen from the grave just as He said He would.
However, sometimes I wonder if there's a tendency among us today to respond to the words, "Christ is Risen!" not by saying "He is risen indeed!", but by saying instead, "So, what?" As in, "What does the resurrection mean for me and my life right now? Especially with all the problems I'm currently facing?"
I used to think that it would be a great witnessing tool if being a Christian meant that you never suffered in this life. That becoming a Christian resulted in having perfect grades in school, being the top athlete, never getting sick, never having any money troubles or family troubles or relationship troubles, be stunningly good looking, etc.
But here's what I've discovered over the years, especially as I've had the privilege to witness first-hand the faith of God's people when facing life's challenges, as their pastor: Some of the best witnessing to the genuineness of the Christian faith is done by God's people, not necessarily when they are living a troubled-free life, but when they happen to be going through some of the most difficult times imaginable. For it is in those difficult times, that they are able to demonstrate to others, the hope they have in the resurrection, and the eternal perspective that God has given them.
This eternal perspective keeps us from losing all hope, and giving up in the midst of our troubles. We are able to face the various sufferings and hardships that come with living in this sinful world, because we have eternity in mind. As forgiven people of God, we have the hope of the resurrection in heaven, and it totally changes how we respond to life's challenges.
Without this eternal perspective and the hope of the resurrection, we might as well choose the philosophy of life, "Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die". As 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 describes, "But if Christ had not been raised, then your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. And what is more those who have died in Christ perished. If we have hope in Christ for this life only, then of all people we are most to be pitied".
The devil, the world and your sinful flesh will try to get you to lose your perspective as to what this brief life is all about in light of Christ's Resurrection and eternity. But the certainty of Resurrection of Jesus Christ serves to remind you of the hope you have been given: "But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For inasmuch death came through a man, the resurrection from the dead is also through a Man. For just as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made to live, each to be sure, in his turn: Christ first; then His own at His coming" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). And, so you can face whatever happens in this brief life, because you have an eternal reward awaiting you in heaven.
You witness to others the hope that is in you, as wherever you go in whatever situation you find yourself in, you live out your life with the assurance of the hope of the resurrection, and its eternal benefits!
One day God will wipe away all your tears, and you will understand better why God has allowed you and your loved ones to go through the sufferings and hardships in this life.
As the words of one song puts it, "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus"
In the meantime, may the joy and hope of the resurrection be with you always!
For Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Amen
Because He Lives!
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