It’s amazing even how my perspective on Christ’s death and resurrection is so much more real to me this year than ever before! How I long for the day when we too will conquer death – because HE LIVES! I have known deep pain, yet even all that cannot compare with the crushing affliction my Savior bore for me. His love is stronger than any pain as the God of all comfort, but also comes from the heart of the Man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief.
Flashback to some of what I said in Sarah’s Celebration of Live service. It’s even more true to me today. This is the full impact of what we celebrate today – the resurrection changes everything!
Trials often shake people’s’ belief that God is all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing, and all-sufficient. Yet, I know each of those to more real today than ever before. Paul said in 1 Cor. 15 that if Christ is not risen then our faith is in vain and we as Christians ought to be pitied. However, Christ has risen again so we have absolute assurance of His promises of our eternal home and our own resurrection one day. As Christians we can view death very differently. 2 Cor. 5:8 reminds us that when our soul departs our body it is present with the Lord. Because God saved Sarah from her sins, she faced death confidently knowing that her citizenship was in heaven where she now is with her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:20) 1 Peter 1:4 also describes it as “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for [her].”
“All this, because of the finished work of Christ we celebrate today. We have joy that transcends circumstances! Jesus does not promise only joy though. As we celebrate the resurrection, we also look to the gift we now have of the Holy Spirit. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Take heart indeed! How can we not! Not only has He overcome the world — and hell and the devil and death — but He remains with us and in us like a mighty warrior against all our foes. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
So, yes, there will be tribulation. Sorrows of so many kinds in this fallen world we can’t count them. But the world that makes us so sorrowful will not have the last word. Therefore, the watchword of the Christian in this world is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Through every grief, we are being kept by the power of the Helper. Therefore, “you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6).
You may be tempted to cry out, “Oh, that I could go back and see him as he was in the flesh!” But remember, you see more of him now by his Spirit in his word than the disciples did during his earthly life. And you will see him again. But not the way he was. His face will be “like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:16). Take heart from Peter’s words: “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and glorified” (1 Peter 1:8–9). This is the joy that cannot be taken from you.” – John Piper