Everything Sad is Going to Come Untrue!
There is an immeasurable and universal amount of suffering and sadness in our world. This isn't new, but has been true throughout history since Adam got us kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
Having spent fifty years in vocational Christian ministry where I did my share of conflict counseling and funerals, and now facing, like never before, the reality of my own mortality, I find myself joining more earnestly in the birth pangs of creation and Christians. Paul writes about these birth pains in Romans 8:22-23, "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
Yet in the midst of our sorrow and suffering comes the greatest news ever to fall on mortal hears! Everything Sad is Going to Come Untrue!
This statement is taken from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, as Sam Gamgee exclaims: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?“ And in the gospel comes the real, true, and good news answer to Sam's question. YES! Because of the sinless life, vicarious death, victorious resurrection, and triumphant ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, everything sad is going to come untrue!
Scripture reveals that in the resurrection of Christ there is a starting point for a whole new way of seeing the world and everything in it.
Professor and author, N.T. Wright gives us some insight into our text in John 11: “Martha believes in the doctrine of future and final resurrection. She believed that in the final and new world to come, all God’s people from ancient times to the present would be given new bodies, to share and relish the life of the new creation. This is the rather flat response she gives in verse 24, which reveals that it isn’t at the moment very comforting. But she isn’t prepared for Jesus’ response. The future has burst into the present. The new creation, and with it the resurrection, has come forward from the end of time into the middle of time. Jesus has not just come, as we sometimes say or sing, ‘from heaven to earth’; it is equally true to say that he has come from God’s future into the present, into the mess and muddle of the world we know. ‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ he says. ‘Resurrection’ isn’t just a doctrine. It isn’t just a future fact. It’s a person, and here he is standing in front of Martha, teasing her to make the huge jump of trust and hope.”
Jesus reveals to Martha that He is bringing a present power in His person, not just the promise of future good.
In John 11:25-26, Jesus declares that in the light of who He was and of what He was going to do with the problem of the penalty, power, and presence of death, we must begin to use his definition of both life and death.
He says that He is about to change the face and complexion, the “configuration,” of death. Here’s the promise of Jesus in Jn. 11:25-26: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha expected something from Christ, but He gives Himself to her. The highest truth isn’t that He has what we need, but that He is what we need. He points not to some future gift but to a present grace – Himself.
In Jesus the Future Age of the New Creation has Come into the Present!
What does Jesus mean when He says that “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”?
It means that since the first coming of Christ all the world has been divided, not by B.C. and A.D., but into I.C. and O.C. - “In Christ,” and “Outside Christ.” Those “in Christ” have life, those “Outside Christ” have death.
It means if you are “in Christ” you are in the life of the age to come, now, and physical death has no affect on this eternal life of Christ in you and you in Christ! On the other hand, if you are “out of Christ” you’re out of life, here and now, and hereafter. Physical death will only usher your dead spirit into the cemetery of the second death where dying, you go on dying - forever!
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus a new order of things had come into being. Not just a new reality in the hearts of believers (although this true – “you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart” - wonderful!), but there’s so much more - there’s a new reality in history.
The fullness of time has already come (Gal. 4:4). Jesus did not come because the time was fulfilled, but fulfilled the time by His coming! Blasting a cross-shaped, resurrection sized hole in the middle of human history was the matrix from which was born a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17); the long-anticipated age of the Spirit foretold by Joel had arrived (Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21).
To receive the gospel message - the good news - that is God-authored, Christ-centered, and that has a Cross-shaped, Resurrection-sized hole, is to cease to be a last days people and become a new days people in a new age! It is the invitation of Acts 5:20: to speak, see, and savor the words of this RESURRECTION LIFE, NOW, with the best still to come!
The new age has been formed in Christ. The new age is being formed in God’s redeemed people. The new age will be formed in the whole of creation, just as Isaac Watts song, “Joy to the World the Lord is Come,” says: “He makes the blessings flow, far as far as the curse is found!”
Since the resurrection morning of our Lord Jesus, "death has been working backwards", and eventually everything sad will come untrue, unremembered, and unable to ever enter God's creation again!
The Apostle John writes: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:3-5).
And because He lives, I can face tomorrow with the confidence that the best is yet to come for the Christian and all of creation as well! PTL!
Truly, the prospects of our future, as followers of the "Resurrection and the Life" Lord Jesus, are as bright as the promises of God. And all of His promises find there yes and amen answer in Christ!
"Never lived a greater joy than that breathless moment when angels standing near the tomb whispered, `Lo! He lives again!' Spread the truth to every nation! Sing abroad in exaltation! Hail the God-sealed confirmation! Alleluia! Easter morn!"
In a day of biased and fake news, this "Good News" we call the "GOSPEL" is true, real, reliable and too good to keep to ourselves. So, let's tell it out and shout it out and let the whole world know - Jesus, and Jesus alone - saves in every way a person needs saving - the earth included!
More in Pastor Wade's Blog
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