02 Apr The Hope of Resurrection
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5). During this season of Easter, people all over the world take time to thank God for He became a human, died for our sins and rose again. God loves us with His everlasting love and He wants us to be part of His family. Three days after the burial, He came back alive. That is the hope for you and for me. At the time of our physical death, we not only die physically, He will raise us up with a glorious body to be part of His eternal family. For this, we must believe in Christ and belong to Christ. Because you believe and belong, you participate in His Resurrection. Death is a shadow and it has no power over you because your story is stretched beyond death. On Easter Sunday, the Lord rose again from the dead, putting death to death and brought life eternal for you and for me. It is not a life of survival, but a life full of divine grace. For this, the Lord Jesus has paid the price by dying on the cross. So Let us walk in the power of His resurrection.
Union with Jesus: As I read 1Corinthians 15, I am excited with hope of the resurrection. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (v.20). Jesus rose again as the first fruits. Then we will follow. God will raise us up from our death. Then we will see God as He is. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1Cor 13:12). We have a desire to see God. As we pray, we get a glimpse of His presence as joy, peace, serenity, comfort and consolation. But in the resurrection, we see Him face to face, our bodily resurrection, directly corresponds to that of Christ’s (1 Cor 15: 12-28).
Transformation: As a seed is transformed into a plant, the person attached to Lord Jesus goes through a transformation. “But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Rom 8:10).
Praveen Kumar grew up in a disturbed family. He remembers the abuses and bad words hurled against each other, by his drunken parents. His family and neighbors were stooped into sorcery, black magic and various superstitions. There was no love, concern and understanding. He had to discontinue his studies after 10th standard. He was working as a mechanic. He fell in love with a pretty girl and spent all his money on her. After five years of friendship, she married another man and went away. Praveen became a depressed person. He tried to commit suicide and survived three times. All his friends deserted him. He was treated for psychiatric problems. Black magicians took a lot of money to remove the evil spell, but he was not healed. Providentially, he reached Divine Call Centre, Mulki and stayed for a weekly retreat.
He had a vision of the Risen Lord. Lord Jesus spoke to him personally. Praveen realized that he is chosen to be a witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. He had the realization that true and living God does not reside in idols and images. He lives in our hearts. God is a person, deeply in love with us and He wants to have a relationship with us. Praveen accepted Jesus as a personal Saviour. His psychiatric disorders disappeared. He started getting peaceful sleep. He forgave his girlfriend and his friends who had robbed his wealth. He became a transformed person. Now, he has made many of his relatives and friends accept Lord Jesus as their Lord and God. “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Cor 5:17).
Resurrection – Passing Over: The Jews celebrated the feast of Passover. They passed over from slavery in Egypt to the promised land of freedom in Israel. They commemorate this great event with eight days of celebration.
Jesus went with his disciples to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. He turned the historical Passover into His new covenantal Passover. He instituted the Holy Eucharist, died for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross and rose again on the third day. He passed over from life to death, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to resurrection and heaven.
The final destiny of our Lenten observances is to experience this passing over from sinfulness to grace to gracefulness.
“So that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord ” (Rom 5:21).
Scriptures Fulfilled: The Old Testament prophecies point out to salvation in Lord Jesus Christ. The central message of the Gospels is the resurrection of Jesus and it affirms our own bodily resurrection.
“And that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:4). It is not just a spiritual resurrection but a complete resurrection of body and soul.
Hope Beyond Life: We all take pride in our wealth and possessions, but in death, all our wealth and inheritance is left behind. But we have a greater treasure in heaven. Heaven is a city full of activities and divine business.
“And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2).
So we have much to look forward to in eternity.
“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2:9).
We do not know exactly what is, yet we know it is more spectacular than what we can imagine. For God nothing is too wonderful (Gen 18:14)
Eternal Kingdom: In India, we look forward to a “Raamraaj,” a Kingdom of truth and justice. The human desire for such a government of truth and justice has remained only as a dream, but our Lord Jesus has promised us a Kingdom, where He will be our King and we will be His subjects. This human hope is rekindled in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”(Rev21:4)
Holy Living: It is great good news that we will have bodily resurrection.
“It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:44). This hope impels us to lead a holy life. It motivates us to lead pure and holy lives.
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58)
Unimaginable Possibilities: Our belief and commitment of the resurrection of the dead, is the seed we sow. Resurrection is the plant that grows out of the sown seed. Then we are overwhelmed with anticipation for a life that exceeds our imagination.
“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2:9)
We have not seen heaven and nobody has explained heaven comprehensively. We are filled with divine joy to comprehend our future with Lord Jesus in heaven.
“As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven” (1Cor 15:48).
Immortal & Imperishable: Resurrection is the death of the death. There is no more decay.
“When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor 15:54).
The bodily resurrection affirms an immortal life in God’s presence. We have an imperishable life for eternity. This hope fills us with overflowing joy of being enveloped by the love of God.
Divine Love Leads to Resurrection: After His resurrection, Lord Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first because she loved the Lord much. “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little” (Luke 7:47).
Grace is the root and holiness is the fruit. The more you are forgiven, the more you feel easy. The more you are united with Jesus, the more the Lord works in you. When you love much, you are forgiven and blessed much more. When you work with stress, you leave no room for God. As you rest in God and do your works in the Divine light of His teaching, God works through you and leads you to resurrection and eternal life.
Mary Magdalene was not disturbed by the crowds and righteous Pharisees. She took divine courage that Lord Jesus understands her, forgives her and accepts her as His own. So she goes to the feet of the Lord with bitter tears. She washes His feet with tears and wipes them with her hair. She kisses the feet of the Lord continuously. The very physical body used for sin is now completely at the service of the Lord. All her sins are forgiven. She becomes the beloved of the Lord. “Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18)
Because she loved much, she was forgiven completely and becomes the witness to the resurrection of the Lord. “But for ours also it will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25).
Lord Jesus took upon Himself all our trespasses, sins, iniquities, failures and rebellion. He suffered the price of our rebellion against God. God our Father forgave all our iniquities and raised up Lord Jesus from death. In Him, we are completely forgiven. No other act of ours but our love for God, makes us sharers in the glorious resurrection.
Praise the Lord! Halleluiah. Jesus is truly risen! Halleluiah!