When we think of suffering we don’t think of it being the path to success. As we groan and mumble let us think of Christ’s resurrection as the ultimate symbol of success after suffering.
I want to show us all how encouraging the resurrection is for today.
We will see how there is victory through suffering and that God intends that we live the resurrection today, that he can resurrect all our failed dreams if we only ask.
Victory through Suffering
We are all tempted by immediate gratification. We want pain to go away, now! We are drunk on sugary, fatty, unhealthy foods. When we want satisfaction we may also be tempted to do other things the wrong way. Life delivers frequent tests as to whether or not we want to endure short-term pain for long-term gain. We may be tempted to lie, cheat or steal to avoid that short-term pain, because we want immediate gratification. However, short-cuts can harm us in the long term. Jesus prayed that he would not have to endure the cross, but in the end chose to suffer. Easter Sunday is not about avoidance of suffering but about victory through suffering (John 20:1-18). The natural human desire to avoid short-term suffering can cause long-term pain for ourselves and others. Victory through suffering is sweet forever.
Living the Resurrection
Is the resurrection (John 20:1-18) relevant to our lives now? It was not an Old Testament observance and the Sadducees doubted it. Resurrection Day is part of Christian Passover season, Easter in English. It is a greater celebration than days which more directly picture Passover, like Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. It is our hope after this life, but also something we can live every day. How do we live the resurrection now? One example Jesus gave was that when we have a celebration we ought to invite the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind (Luke 14:13-15), people not often represented at parties of the rich and famous. By loving our neighbors, we live Easter all year and will be rewarded wonderfully at our own resurrection. Let’s give new life away and live the resurrection today.
Resurrecting Dead Dreams
This dog-eat-dog world is called a jungle, where people walk all over each other. Just to survive, we become tough and and bitter inside. Yet, Jesus came to save us from ourselves and the world around us. That’s what the resurrection is about (John 20:1-18). Romans 5:10 says that we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son and saved by his life. When everything in this world seems to be out to destroy us, God is there to rebuild. Have our marriages been dying? God is there to give them life. Have our dreams shriveled up and died? God is there to resurrect them. Have our spirits shrunk and withered with discouragement? God is there to revive our spirits. He is on our side and wants to save us. All we need do is ask.
If we are suffering at the present time, it is good to remember that suffering is the path to glory. Jesus’ resurrection was not for him alone, but so that we too may be saved by his life, now and forever. Jesus' resurrection was also not for us alone, but for everyone we meet. When we sin we take life, little bit by little bit. Let's determine to live resurrected lives by giving life in a thousand ways every day through words of encouragement, righteous business ethics, and showing love to everyone we meet.