Thursday, April 9, 2015

You Will Rest; You Will Rise

Friday, April 10, 2015
 “As for you, go your way until the end.  You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.” 
Daniel 12:13 (NLT)
If you are part of a loving church family and are involved in its corporate life, you will spend time hanging-out in funeral homes.  There is hardly a Sunday which passes, even in the small membership churches I serve, where prayer is not lifted for a family in grief over the loss of a loved one. 
Death is not the happiest thought to begin any day, but, truth be told, most people over age forty think of death several times every day.  It is part of our nature to anticipate the reality of our finite existence; the number of our days is a dwindling dance with time.
The passage in Daniel is God’s instruction to His prophet about how to treat the message of the “end times” – that apocalyptic forecast of God’s desire to bring time and eternity back into the kind of focus which is His sovereign plan.
But in the midst of instructing Daniel to “seal-up” (encode) the message so that its meaning will stay “hidden” until God’s chosen time arrives, God pauses to give Daniel a personal blessing of peace for his soul.  That blessing is the assurance of Daniel rising again for the inheritance which God has personally set aside for Daniel.
Rising again; it is our Christian hope which flies in the face of death’s threat!
We have just come through the Season of Lent, with all its somber tone and foreshadow of the passion, cross and tomb.  It borders on obsession with the death of Christ. 
Most ministers I know are ready for a vacation the day after Easter; their tanks are empty from the extra services and emotional highs (as well as the lows on the Sunday after Easter when everyone goes to the beach instead of church). 
All that “death” is exhausting!
The craving is “rest”.
And that is true for most everyone.  Life has its way of reminding us that our bodies in this fallen world are not equipped to last for eternity.  We crave rest, and the most elderly among us understand the precipice between extreme old age and the next life.  It’s a very thin line!
God said to Daniel, “You will rest”.  To the extremely old, that is a welcome word.
He also said, “You will rise again.” To all people that is life, health, joy and peace.  It is the raindrop of “Good News” in the ocean of death.

For You Today

If you’ve read (or listened) this far you’re probably thinking, how in the world can this be a good start today…all this talk about death?

The answer is as simple as it is profound: 

We’ve been thinking about death and how horrible it is;

Now I can end with the simple words of Jesus that give this death thing all the perspective a child of God needs to see:

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.  John 5:24 (NLT)

Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ need not fear the terror of death; you’ve already passed it…into life.

[1] Title Image: By Edith Mahier, via Wikimedia Commons

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