Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thoughts on resurrection on the day before Easter

Tomorrow we celebrate, as we should every single day, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Not "Easter," which is the name of a pagan goddess of fertility and spring (see Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth), but Resurrection Day! Not a day of bunnies and duckies and chickies and hunting for dyed hard-boiled eggs, but the Son of God come out of the tomb and alive forevermore! Hallelujah!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! That He lives is the greatest news in the history of the world, in my estimation. Paul wrote about why it is so important in the fifteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. (Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to read that chapter.)

Greater than Christmas, greater than anything else you can imagine, the resurrection of Christ makes possible our own resurrection. According to the book of Revelation, chapter 20, there are actually two resurrections in the future. Those who are in the first resurrection will reign with Him and will not be subject to the second death (and it is written elsewhere that they will attend the marriage supper of the Lamb and be judged at the judgment seat of Christ). Those who are in the second resurrection, a thousand years later, will be judged at the great white throne and, if their names are not found written in the Lamb's book of life, will be cast into the lake of fire. Each of us needs to pray and live in such a manner, and love Christ so completely (that is, love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves), that we will be found in the first resurrection.

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote these words: "If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself" (II Timothy 2:11-13).

Which brings me to the Laodicean church mentioned in Revelation, chapter 3, the ones the risen Christ through the apostle John calls lukewarm, the ones He will spue out of His mouth because they are neither hot nor cold. Mark my words, there are Laodiceans in and out of churches all around us today. If you are one, then the following poem that I wrote is for you.

To Lukewarm In Laodicea

Were every bush a burning bush
And every leaf a clue,
You’d see the cleansing hand of God
In every fiery hue;
You’d know the strong Refiner’s touch
Can pierce a soul clean through,
Were every bush a burning bush
Then any bush would do.

Were every tongue an unknown tongue
And every sigh a psalm,
You’d speak the oracles of God
To those in need of balm;
You’d tell of healing virtue and
Of saving power too;
Were every tongue an unknown tongue
Then even yours would do.

Were every tomb an empty tomb
Like that near Calv’ry’s hill
And every boulder rolled away
That keeps you from God’s will,
You’d know the Lord as risen Lord
Whose pow’r makes all things new;
Were every tomb an empty tomb
Then yours might empty too.


Because God is love, Christ does not leave Laodiceans without hope. In Revelation 3:18-22 He says to them, "Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

2 comments:

Richard said...

Bob your poem is right on the mark; A wonderful ongoing expression of the wonderful ongoing experience of salvation. Thank you, I am so blessed to have read it.
Richard

"JEANNELLE" said...

Your poem is wonderfully insightful. I will echo the above comment in saying that I am blessed to have read it! Thank you.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!