Friday's Promise

Friday, July 03, 2009
[Suggested soundtrack for this post: You and I, by Wilco, off of the album Wilco (the album)]

"For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died." - 1 Thessalonians 4:14

One of the greatest promises and comforts given to those who follow Christ is the prospect of seeing loved ones again who have passed away. And it is no exageration to say that this great hope comes directly from scripture. In 1 Thess. 4:14 we find the most succinct description of what happens.

Jesus died, but he didn't then go to heaven. Instead he came BACK TO LIFE!! He was given a new body superior in every way to the old one. And that was the reason that his disciples could see him again after he died. Because God brought him back from the dead and gave him a new body. It is actually significant that Jesus doesn't ascend to heaven until after he is raised from the dead because Jesus is Lord not just of "the afterlife" but of the whole world here and now!

And the Bible says this is why we have hope to see those who have "fallen asleep in the Lord". Because just as Jesus was given a new body and quite literally came back from the dead, so God will give a new body and bring back from the dead all of those who die in Christ. It is so much more concrete than these strange notions we have developed about white lights and "passing through to the other side." Our ressurection will be just like that of Jesus, the only difference is the timing. So our hope for reunion lies not in "I sure hope I'll see them when I die" but in the historical reality of Jesus ressurection from the dead. Because as it happened to him, so it will happen to all those who follow Jesus.

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