Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank you for going to the cross and dying in order to free us from the curse of sin and death. Thank you for rising to life and thereby giving to us that most blessed assurance that: “Because You live, we will live also.” May Your resurrection energize and empower us every day, just like it has all the saints in glory until the day when we can join them! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR GLORIOUS RESURRECTED LORD!
TEXT: Luke 20: 27-38
Fellow Redeemed Sinners Made Saints By The Resurrection of Christ:
Parents! Do you ever tire of hearing your kids tell you: “I love you, Mom.” Or, “I love you, Dad?” Children! Do you ever get bored and sick of hearing your parents say: “I love you, Johnny, or Susan.”? And how many of us who have lost a parent to death wouldn’t give a year’s wages just to hear their words of encouragement and love whispered into our ear one more time? Love, kindness, thanksgiving and joy, words that uplift uttered by special people never go out of style and we never tire of hearing them.
Do you really think God is any different? Just like each of you, He never tires of hearing our words of love and praise, either. Today, right now, you, as members of His Church on earth have joined your voices with the saints in glory in making His heart sing for joy! You’ve done so today through the hymns and also through the creed. For the creed, your statement of belief, honors the Lord of all glory. And so, as we celebrate Saint’s Triumphant Sunday in our midst by pondering this lesson, remember this singular truth:
SAINTS EXCLAIM: I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION!
Sometimes New Testament Christians forget that the Old Testament believers also held to and confessed Christ’s coming resurrection. They did so because the Old Testament clearly teaches it. First, let me give you this passage from Job. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Likewise, the prophet Isaiah writes: “But your dead will live; their bodies will raise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” And finally, there is also Daniel 12: 2: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Yes, the OT believers knew of the coming resurrection and took tremendous comfort from it, just like you and me.
Caiaphas was the high priest at the time of Christ. He had assumed that role after the Romans kicked out Annas, his corrupt father-in-law, from that office. These two men belonged to the ruling Jewish religious elite. And they were Sadducees, along with most of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council. I like to call them the religious liberals of that day. Why? Because the Sadducees, although members of the priestly class, did not believe in the immortality of the soul, the existence of angels, the reality of heaven, or the resurrection from the dead. Are we surprised they were “in it for the money?”—Recall the temple money-changers they controlled and got a cut from. Once you give up the supernatural aspects of the faith, all that’s left is the here and now—and the money you can make off the pious….
These jaded, evil men thought they could trip Christ up and make Him look bad in the eyes of the people, while adding to their own allure in the process. They posed a hypothetical question to Christ about heaven—which they did not believe in. According to Mosaic Law a man was obligated to marry his brother’s childless wife if that brother died. This was a legal way to insure that the poor woman wasn’t left destitute. It was also a way of carrying on the family line of that dead brother. In their question a man has seven brothers who all die in order after all marrying the widow. “Finally, the woman died, too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
Yes, right here they attempt to misuse God’s Word to trip up the One Who wrote the Bible!
Jesus taught a lot about both resurrection and marriage in the New Testament. Right here, in His answer, He gives us even more food for thought. “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age 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 angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”
Heaven is a different reality than earth. The closeness we have in marriage with that special someone will be enlarged infinitely in that we’ll have such oneness with all the saints. Likewise, like angels, who cannot die or be confined by earthly guidelines, so that will be the situation among the saints. They possess a closeness a unity that is simply foreign to this world. And the resurrection makes all this possible!
To be sure, when we die we’re taken out of time and space and placed into eternity where there is no time. In heaven there is no past, or no future, as those are time-lines. No, everything there is only present reality. When you die, from God’s perspective, you are placed into non-time. And that means everything is instantaneous. Your sleep in your grave will be like a quick nap. And then you will arise with a perfect body untainted by any form of sin and join all the saints in hearing both how God loves you and in exclaiming how you love Him back. Joy will reign. Boredom will cease. And the past will be celebrated only in so far as it honors the God of love Who has made it all possible.
Would you like to partake of such “living in the moment” in pure bliss? Would you like to be counted among the saints? Then “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!” That’s His promise to you. And never tire of hearing Him exclaim: “I am the resurrection and the life!” Indeed, He is!
I’ve just given you two NT passages which teach the resurrection. There are many more. And saints on earth and saints in glory all exclaim: “I believe in the resurrection” because this truth is totally consistent with God’s nature. Think about it. God created humans for life, not death. Christ’s resurrection proves that fact. And so does Moses when “he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
When Moses penned those words spoken by God, Himself, those patriarchs were long dead. But, in reality, they weren’t dead! They were alive in glory with Christ because they clung to the truth of the resurrection, just like you. That’s why Moses could appear with Christ on the Mt. of Transfiguration. He was alive, too, just like all the other saints, awaiting our arrival into heavenly splendor. Yes, just as Jesus says to His faithful believers: “Because I live, you will live also.”
Saints exclaim: “I believe in the resurrection” because it gives power, purpose and meaning to this life. It takes away the sting of sin and death and transports us into a reality where love and joy never cease. Yes, our lives in Christ are bigger and better than 3 score and 10 and then that’s it. Or, as St. Paul says it so well: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Yes, the resurrection makes living for God and all the joy that comes with it possible. Amen