It seems no one prepares for death or plans to die, yet it is the most inevitable thing about your life. You imagine and you plan what your life will be, but have you planned on WHAT THEN?
By Pastor Delbert Young
What Then? – Easter Sunday
Scriptures: Revelation 1:5, Luke 20:27-40, 1 Peter 1:3-4
Today is Easter Sunday, or as I like to reference it, Resurrection Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most powerful event in history. Jesus is the most powerful figure in history and he has been for 2,000 years. Easter/Resurrection Sunday is like a diamond. It sparkles from every angle. There is so much to enjoy and so much about which I could talk. It is the most celebrated day of Christianity and a time celebrated every year by all creation. Easter Sunday is always immediately after the Vernal Equinox, which is the official first day of spring. That means everything is budding and the living colors begin to cover the earth again. Life is alive and resurrected. Everything – animals, fish, insects, birds, all creation – begin their resurrection processes. One would think that God planned Resurrection Sunday at this time of year. Of course, he did.
They crucified Jesus on Friday and placed him in a tomb where he laid Saturday. “Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior, Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord. Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose a Victor from the dark domain; And He lives forever, with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” The Bible says that tomb of death became a womb of life, but not for Jesus alone. Jesus became the firstborn from the dead.
Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD…
It says FIRSTBORN. That means there will be many, many more resurrected and born from the dead to experience eternal life. Only in God does death lead to life. Only the Lord God can take a tomb of death and make it become a womb of life, which takes me to what I want to speak about today.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem the week before they crucified him, he experienced several confrontations with those who hated him. One such hate-filled group named themselves the Sadducees. They set a trap to discredit and humiliate Jesus with a supposedly unanswerable question. The question would backfire on them and discredit them. Yet, Christ’s ability to answer deemed him as a serious problem. Had he not answered, or agreed with the Sadducee theology, Jesus probably would never have been arrested and surely not crucified. It is a meaningful moment. I want you to imagine with me the event. It took place in the temple. Let’s listen in.
Luke 20:27-40 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
Let me give you a little background. To protect a family’s property, the Law of Moses stated that if a man died without a son to inherit his property, his unwed brother was to marry the widow and have children to inherit the estate. In the Sadducee’s ridiculous scenario, seven brothers married the same woman. The trick question was “Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” Their point was there could be no such thing as a resurrection for “in heaven” she would be the wife of all seven husbands.
The Sadducees did not believe in life after death. They thought you live once, you have one shot at it, and that was it – no hell or heaven. That was why they are Sad-u-see. What a sad belief that is. How hopeless that is. I cannot remember a time in my life, even in my most lost days, that I did not know there was something more after death. Even heathens in Hollywood know and sell this. Yet, strange as it sounds to me to think there is nothing after this life i.e. no hell or “heaven,” there are evidently untold millions today who think this way. There may be some here today that question life after death. I mean, if you believe there is life after death, “heaven” and hell, would you not become a Christian? Who wants to go to hell?
So, to discredit Jesus, the Sadducees asked this supposedly “unanswerable” question. It was a trap and Jesus knew it was a trap. Yet he walked right into it. Imagine the atmosphere! The buzz in the temple goes silent. The Sadducees would have been inwardly snickering and elbowing each other in the ribs saying to themselves, “We got him now! Ha, Ha.”
Jesus would have looked at them with a ‘you idiots’ look, shook his head and said, in effect, “You don’t get it do you.” Let’s listen to his reply.
Jesus replied, “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 the angels. They ARE GOD’S CHILDREN, since THEY ARE CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION. But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for 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.” Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Jesus sealed his fate by answering that question. Jesus used an intriguing phrase in that passage used only here. He said THEY ARE CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION. Would you say that back to me please – CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION. I pray you decide to be worthy of taking part in that age.
Jesus told them they spoke of two entirely different ages. In the age of the resurrection, people no longer die. Therefore, why would they need to marry and have children as in the scenario of the woman with seven husbands? In that respect, they are like the angels.
What I want to draw from that story today is Jesus said concerning those of the resurrection, “They are God’s children, since THEY ARE CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION.” It is a synoptic thought. God’s children are CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION. Jesus places the resurrection into two arenas – two ages. One is present –God’s children ARE children of the resurrection. The other is future – life after this life. Let’s talk briefly about those two arenas.
Jesus said THEY ARE children of the resurrection. In other words, there are benefits of the resurrection now. My children were/are the children of the Young’s. They received the benefits of our family, i.e. food, clothes, shelter, education, finances, etc. One day, they will inherit more, but as children, they enjoyed the lifestyle of their parents. It is this way with CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION. We get to live in the meaning/house of resurrection now.
1 Peter 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he HAS GIVEN US NEW BIRTH INTO A LIVING HOPE THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST from the dead, AND into an inheritance that can never perish
Through the resurrection, CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION experience NEW BIRTH now AND an inheritance later. Every CHILD OF THE RESURRECTION has a hopeful good life now. I want to show you a video testimony of a CHILD OF THE RESURRECTION experiencing resurrection today.
CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION experience a new life. It is filling the void. It is hopelessness to hope. It is life changed from troubles to peace. It is a life alive with God. Life changes from drab to full color. Today, if you are a child of God, you know of what I speak. How many agree that your life is better as a CHILD OF THE RESURRECTION? Let’s look at one more video testimony.
If you are a Child of the Resurrection, you experienced what they experienced. Something inside of you resurrected and became alive again even if you stopped coming to church. Once you began again, your life changed again. Your life is higher, not should be higher, IS higher. It is being born again. I know of no one who truly came to Jesus Christ and his or her life did not elevate with change and become better.
Jesus also spoke of the CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION experiencing the resurrection to come.
There is a story about an elderly grandfather having a last talk with his teenage grandson. The grandfather, knowing that his days were coming to an end, decided to impart wisdom to his offspring. He sat the young man down and asked him about his plans for life. The young man conveyed to his grandfather that he planned to graduate from High School. The grandfather asked, “What then?” “Well,” the young man said, “I want to go to college.” The grandfather asked, “What then?” The grandson smiled and said, “I will find good employment, hopefully make a lot of money, and perhaps begin my own business.” The grandfather asked, “What then?” Of course, by now, the grandson was becoming a little perturbed, but answered anyway. “I will have married and had children.” Again, the grandfather asked, “What then?” He responded with he guessed he would someday retire and see his children have their families. The Grandfather smiled and calmly asked again, “What then?” By now the young man was running out of things that he imagined he would do in life, and just said, “Well, I guess I’ll die.” The grandfather asked, “WHAT THEN?”
It seems no one prepares for death or plans to die, yet it is the most inevitable thing in your life. You imagine and you plan what your life will be, but have you planned on WHAT THEN?
Hamlet said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Do you remember what he was debating when he said that? He was debating suicide. Profoundly, that really is the question. To be a Christ follower or not to be, to be a child of the resurrection or not to be, THAT IS THE QUESTION! When considering eternity, you make the decision to be or not to be. Not receiving is eternal suicide. The problem is there is never real death or nothingness. Jesus said it will be eternal damnation and torment in hell, or it will be eternal joy and peace in God’s presence. TO BE OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION! Can you take the risk of trusting God today? Can you become a CHILD OF THE RESURRECTION?
Here is my thought for you this Easter Sunday: Have you planned your WHAT THEN? Are you a CHILD OF THE RESURRECTION? Or, are you like the Sadducees? Have you planned your resurrection? I do not mean planned your death, but your resurrection. Jesus planned his. The apostle Paul planned his. Peter planned his. I have planned mine. Have you planned your WHAT THEN? It is the difference of a blossoming life now or a drab winter life. It is the difference of eternal life with Christ later, or hell later. WHAT THEN?
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