We are looking forward to the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection from death on Easter. One of the main reasons the Lord came into the world was to teach us that there is more to life than our short span in this natural world and to assure us of the promise of eternal life. To the repentant thief on the cross to His right, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Another time He said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to Myself” (John 12:32).
Once Jesus received a message that His friend, Lazarus, was very sick. “And Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus their brother.” But He deliberately waited two days before He started to come to Lazarus’ aid, so that Lazarus would have time to die before Jesus came to him. In fact, Lazarus had been dead four days by the time Jesus arrived. Jesus wanted everyone to see clearly that He has power over death. Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother shall rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” When Jesus had come to the tomb, He commanded them to roll away the stone from the door. He cried out with a great voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who was dead came forth, bound feet and hands with graveclothes, and his face was bound about with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go” (John 11).
Just a short time after He raised Lazarus, Jesus allowed Himself to be put to death. He wanted us to see His resurrection and know that the death of the natural body is not the end of life. Angels said to the women who came to His tomb, “Why do you seek the Living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)
One way we can truly celebrate Easter and the Lord’s resurrection is to think carefully about our own eternal life. Let us resist “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19). Instead, “having heard the Word with a noble and good heart,” let us “keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Then all the grief and agony that our Lord went through for us will not have been in vain. He will be able to lift us up with Him into paradise, as He deeply wishes.
You are welcome to worship at 10:00 Sunday mornings at Kempton New Church.
Rev. Lawson M. Smith