Here in Bangkok, you wouldn’t know it’s Easter Sunday. The streets are rammed with cars and motorcycles and the cafe on the bottom level of the guesthouse is blasting with activity as always-not a cross in sight. It’s a far cry from a place like, say, Nashville, Tennessee where there are churches on practically every corner.
I have a few books on a mini-Kindle loaded onto my iPhone. One I’ve been using for a daily devotion is a commentary on the gospels by J.C.Ryle. Reading someone else’s interpretation of the word helps pull me out of the rut of reading it the same way I always have. Sometimes my familiarity with these truths can be a disadvantage. Like the city of Capernaum, knowing the Lord from a young age, having read and studied the Bible over and over, and being surrounded by the some of the best Bible teachers and resources, there is a tendency of falling into the same trap. The people of Capernaum had the Lord dwelling among them, doing miracles, and preaching the gospel to them, but never took him as their own and never repented. Maybe it was this familiarity that kept their hearts hard as stone. It was the people of this city who saw the paralyzed man lowered into the room by his friends, watched Jesus forgive his sins, and saw the man take up his bed and walk.
But this was the same city Jesus told these horrifying words, “…if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” Matthew 11:23 Wow! Let me think about that for a second… Lord, please soften my heart of stone!
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “He is Risen!” we say to each other. Hallelujah! But may it not just be an Easter greeting we say without giving it a second thought. It IS the thing. It is THE event. It’s the way a person defines everything else in life. After all, if there is no resurrection from the dead, life on earth is all there is. Living as long as possible here on this earth is the main thing. It’s the only thing. Save the earth! How depressing. But, what if everyone will rise again?
A teacher of mine once told me I wasn’t asking the right questions. What? Some things don’t become clear until much later. Now I get it. Life is a series of questions and answers. A good question to ask might be, “Will there actually be a resurrection?” If there will be; and the way I live now has repercussions on what will happen at that point, I should live in a condition I would be happy to die in, right?
A resurrection. Restoring a dead person to life. And if a dead person does come back to life, and that dead person is me, an even better question to ask might be, “What happens next?” And the answer to THAT question means everything. It determines the path I am on today. It determines how I see myself and what I do. I either live in fear or I don’t. Being raised back to life after I die either brings the greatest comfort or the greatest fear. What if it actually DOES happen?
What a spectacular thing not to be afraid. Jesus died, rose, and came back to his disciples and comforted them. They knew they were sinners and chose to believe he was their Savior. He didn’t forget that… and this is an option for EVERYONE! Those who didn’t believe paid money to hide it. They were afraid it might actually have happened! For those who have placed saving faith in the Lord Jesus, waking from death to see him will be the relief of a lifetime-literally! All of life makes sense. No corruption, health problem, poverty, or political scandal can separate them from Christ-not even sin. After all, that’s the good news.
So… What’s happens next?