Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, Christians, of all people, would be the most to be pitied. For if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then we will not be raised from the dead, and our “best life” would only be found in this life. We would be more pitied than atheists who have never believed in the resurrection. Why? Because following Jesus means sharing in His death. While others are seeking the pleasures of this world and pursuing their daily happiness, we are dying daily to ourselves, following the footsteps of our Lord.
While the world repays evil with evil, we strive to repay evil with good as we submit to our King and the ways of His kingdom. We strive to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. We fight with our sinful nature as we bless those who curse us and pray for those who abuse us. Repaying evil with evil is easy; repaying with good is a kind of death, a death we die each day as we follow Jesus. God gives us the strength we need to fight this daily battle and blesses us with joy in the midst of the pain. However, if we have no hope beyond this life, then we indeed are to be pitied by all people!
But Jesus did rise from the dead! Therefore, we are promised that we who share in His death will also share in His resurrection on the Last Day. On that day, we will be brought into the New Heavens and the New Earth. We will not be pitied then, for we have a future that will be so glorious that we will consider even the worst suffering “light” and “momentary.” The “daily deaths” we experience here on Earth, which may pierce our hearts now, are preparing an eternal weight of glory beyond description for us. We will dwell in the presence of God forever!
We will finally be allowed to see His face, hear the cadence of His voice, and look into His eyes — without a hint of shame or guilt. Imagine! Oh, to hear Him say, “Well done, my daughter! Well done, my son!” as He wipes away our tears, healing our broken hearts by a glance from his kind, knowing eyes. We will finally know Him perfectly, without the clouding of lies, without the corruption of our self-focus. Our souls will find rest in His presence— deep, peaceful, life-giving rest. We will be fully changed, finally living according to our true nature as image-bearers of God, purely good and upright and kind. Never again drawn to darkness, our desires will be in sync with God’s heart.
We will no longer hurt others or be hurt by them. Our relationships with one another will be full of life and perfect love without the tainting of our selfishness. On that day, we will be given glorious bodies in place of these broken, decaying vessels. The Earth will no longer be under the bondage of death; it will gladly produce life and joyfully live out its created design. The stain of sin will be wiped away from the Earth with finality, and the world shall blossom! Our God has shown us unfathomable mercy. Words aren’t adequately conveying the glory, but we cannot remain silent! “Worthy!” we cry, “Worthy are you, Jesus, for you rose from the grave, conquering death and ransoming a people to dwell with you under the shadow of your wings! Worthy!”
This devotional is part of our Holy Week series, and was written by Jess Wills for Resurrection Sunday.