The Best Promise in the World
Promises are a big part of our lives. They can be small and ordinary, like ‘I promise to be home by 6pm’. Or they can be big and significant, like ‘I promise to have and to hold from this day forward, as long as we both shall live.’ We all make many and varied promises.
God, of course, makes many promises as well. The Bible is filled with them. Perhaps none bigger or more significant than John 11:25-26. Jesus says to Martha, as she grieves the death of her brother Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
It’s quite the promise. In a mere 28 words, Jesus claims that the person who believes in him will live, even though they die, which means, ultimately, they won’t really die. Death is merely the dark hallway into the grand ballroom of life.
Given that we live in a world where the mortality rate is 100%, this is really good news. It’s the best news in the world. If it’s true. And that’s the question: Is it true? How do we know? How can we know?
The answer is found in the events of Easter. The answer is grounded in the fact that Jesus Christ lives, even though he died. The resurrection of Jesus is the grounds and guarantee of the promise that Jesus makes in John 11. We will live because Jesus lives. We have real hope because Jesus really was raised from death.
David Powlison says to the believer: ‘Your hope is not based on a pipe dream that changed circumstances, passing of time, a new set of friends, or even giving up will somehow cure how you feel. He (God) gives living hope based on the physical reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because the resurrection happened and Jesus is alive, well, and at work, your story can end in life.’
This is the truth we will celebrate this weekend at our Easter services. I hope you will join us on Good Friday at 9am and Easter Sunday at 9am, followed by Easter on the Lawn (10am to 12pm), as we gaze upon the sin-defeating, wrath-absorbing, life-giving, future-securing, hope-fuelling death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace,