Children of the resurrection
Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”
Luke 20:34-36 (NIV)
A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner and towards the end of the meal the discussion round the table veered to whether or not we believed in the afterlife. Some mumbled they didn’t know or they hadn’t given it much thought. Others said they believed there was indeed life after death, but they didn’t know what form it would take.
The host however was emphatic: there was no life after death – this life was all there was and when you died you were gone forever.
He turned to me and asked what I thought. To give myself more time to formulate my answer, I asked him a question: ‘What about all the people suffering in the world or those who die in infancy never having had a real chance at life?’
‘That is just too bad,’ came his reply, ‘this life is all that matters, full stop.’
I felt a wave of sadness for him and all others who hold that view. It is precisely the knowledge and conviction of the resurrection that keeps Christians going, especially when faced with the suffering and injustices of this present world. It is the belief that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, will come back to rule with justice and that resurrected lives will be redeemed, that sustains us and gives us hope. Otherwise, the present suffering would be unbearable.
Perhaps it is easier to believe that this life is all that there is when life is good and your suffering minimal – rather like the Sadducees in the Bible who questioned Jesus. They were the elite in their society, wealthy, and well respected. Their present life was good and was what mattered to them. They didn’t believe in a resurrection, and they tried to trick Jesus with a question about a woman who had seven husbands before she died: “…whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” (Matthew 22:28 NLT).
Jesus told them that in God’s kingdom things will be different. For one thing death will not have the final word. Our Saviour promises us a life of no more pain, no sorrow, no tears. We don’t know all the details, but we can look at how much the Father loves us, and we can trust that the resurrection life will be better than anything we can imagine.
Heavenly Father, we know it is only in Jesus that we truly have hope, in this life and the next. We believe we will live again after we die and that all injustice and suffering will cease. All people will have an opportunity to become one of your children and experience your care and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Jackie Mill
About the writer:
Jackie Mill is a minister in Grace Communion International and Co-Regional Pastor for Scotland and Ireland.
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