Easter! Death and resurrection! Sadness and happiness! Sorrow and joy! Every Easter season is a time for sharing greetings with loved ones, and where possible, spending quality time together. We can all look back over many years with happy memories of the occasions when this took place. Unfortunately, there comes a time in all families when some family members are longer present. We experience a deep sense of loss for them. But praise God, a death took place that was followed by a resurrection to life, [the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord.] Because of that death and resurrection, we can have a sure hope of the resurrection of our loved ones. Not only that but we can have a deep assurance of our reunion with them, for eternity, when Jesus returns.
The following are some of the verses that mean a great deal to me as one of those, who like many of my friends, lost a loved one since last Easter. Many of us admit that though we believe that our loved ones are safe and secure in the arms of the Lord, there still remains a deep sense of loss in our hearts. How precious then are these verses that remind us of our Christian hope.
Jesus Promise To All His Followers. Jn 14:1-6.
A promise that they would live with Him forever. During His ministry on earth, He had told His disciples that He would soon leave them. Seeing their distress He promised the following, which applies to all His disciples throughout human history.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn 14:21-6.
A PLACE FOR YOU! WHERE I AM, YOU MAY BE ALSO!
Jesus’ Promise To A Sinner Nearing Death. Luke 23:42-43.
Someone, who with another rebel, initially mocked Jesus, Mat 27:38 “Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.” AND “In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” Mat 27:44.
But one of the rebels changed his mind about Jesus, and rebuked the other rebel. “But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Lk 23:40-43.
TODAY! WITH ME! IN PARADISE!
A Promise To Jesus’ Followers Who Die And To Their Loved Ones Who Die In The Lord.
To be absent from the body and present with the Lord was Paul’s deep desire. It is the desire and the certain hope of every believer.
“We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” 2Cor 5:8.
What a joy to know that just 2 hours after I left my beloved wife Carole in the Palliative Care ward to drive home, she was indeed absent from the body and already at home with the Lord. What a blessed assurance that was, and remains for me every day.
ABSENT FROM THE BODY! AT HOME! WITH THE LORD!
The Promise Of Reunion With Our Loved Ones When Jesus Returns. [As He Certainly Will.]
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18. “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
DEATH IS SLEEP, NOT THE END! NO NEED FOR ONGOING GRIEF! HAVE HOPE! TO CATCH UP WITH DECEASED LOVED ONES! IN THE CLOUDS! TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR! TOGETHER TO BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER!
The Promise Of Sharing Eternity With Loved Ones When Jesus Returns
1 Corinthians 15: 50-58. “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
THE DEAD ARE RAISED IMPERISHABLE! DEATH HAS BEEN SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY! THANKS BE TO GOD! OUR LABOUR WILL BE REWARDED! THANKS BE TO GOD!
At a time this year when all our movements world-wide have been severely restricted it is good to reflect on the Lord’s goodness to us and to our loved ones over perhaps many decades. Having to undergo some restrictions on our liberty and having to go through some form of suffering during this year should make us appreciate even more the sacrifices that many have made on our behalf. But in this Easter season our minds go to the greatest sacrifice that was ever made, and the benefits that are available to those who yield their lives to the One who made it on their behalf. As I was typing this the following words filled my mind, which are from a song “Amazing Love” by Graham Kendrick.
And so they watched Him die
But oh, the blood He shed
Flowed for me
Amazing love, o what sacrifice
The Son of God given for me
My debt He pays and my death He dies
That I might live
That I might live.
JESUS! SON OF GOD! CREATOR! SAVIOUR! LORD! Sacrificed His life on the cross so that we might live. JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD to give us victory over sin, over death and over the devil, so that we might live in victory and pass through death into glory to be with Him, and with our loved ones, who beat us into His presence!
I pray that your heart may be filled with love for Him and for all He accomplished on the cross and made available to us in His resurrection. We love, because He first loved us, as John wrote in 1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
The implications of His love for us become evident in the next verse, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.“ 1Jn 4:11.
This is a time for loving, and as I pointed out in my previous article, love is the best defence against the horrible threat of the Coronavirus.
Love for God enables us to be more healed in body, mind and spirit.
Love for our neighbours means that we will support them and protect them by living lives that pose no risk to them because of our own self-imposed restrictions during this Coronavirus threat.
Praying that you have a very blessed Easter and for those who miss loved ones, that you [and I] will know the Lord’s comfort and strength in His presence and in the experience of His love [as our departed loved ones already are experiencing, in His perfection.]
Blog No.350 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on [Maundy] Thursday 9th April 2020.