In a few weeks Christians all over the world will celebrate the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus—the very essence of our faith and hope. Christ stepped into humanity and introduced us to the nature of God in human terms we could grasp. In word and deed, he showed us how to love as he loves—fully and without reservation. He gave himself over to death on a cross to atone for our sins and then conquered death by stepping out of his grave resurrected. By his own power, not just being alive again, but alive forever, never again to taste death. First Jesus and then, upon his return, his people—those who have died and those who are still alive will be swept up together with the Lord into a new resurrected life. This is the hope we have as Christians and the hope we celebrate every Sunday, most of all Easter morning.
But like the Jews of the Old Testament, we are now living with a promise that is thousands of years old and the zeal we once felt is long gone. We’re not as expectant as we once were that tomorrow may be the day Jesus returns. I imagine if we’re totally honest with one another, most of us would have to admit that we believe we won’t see the Second Coming of Christ in our lifetime. As his people who once believed to their core that his return was imminent, now our default understanding is that his return is years, maybe centuries away. We’ve lost the urgency and anticipation of the coming of our Savior.
Yet for me this year is different. An excitement has been building in me these last few weeks as each day we get closer to the celebration of Christ’s atoning death and glorious resurrection. Why is this year different, you may ask? Because this particular Easter morning (2016), is the anniversary of my son’s death. On March 27, 1998 my son left behind this life and entered into the Lord’s glorious embrace. Because of this primal connection, a mother’s love for her child, I’ve been experiencing a tangible awareness that someday my son and I, in our resurrected bodies, will be able to enjoy the very presence of God unfettered by this life and the sin of this world. Together we will gaze upon the face of our Savior, maybe hand in hand. We will sing once again sweet harmonies in praise to our King. Maybe it will be tomorrow, next week, next month, fifty years from now or so far in the future, we have no word for it. But it will happen because the Lord has already made it possible. He has already set it into motion and the momentum of his power and grace can never be stopped or undone. This joy I am anticipating won’t be for just a moment in time that disappears too soon, but for an eternity.
God’s promises aren’t just generic platitudes or slogans we find comforting from time to time. His promises are personal, for you and me, right now, this moment and forever. They bring us hope, joy, strength and grace right now. Jesus is alive and he is with us right now loving us, leading us, protecting us and forgiving us. He isn’t holding back anything. Let’s not hold anything back either. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!