The coronavirus pandemic has brought a great hardship to many people around the world. It has caused a great problem for the church because most have not been able to assemble as a congregation. If I tell you all today to look with me in God’s word, the Bible, some might respond, “I don’t even know if there is a God. Where is He? What is He doing? Why doesn’t He take this all away? And, what does a book written thousand of years ago have to do with us today?” My answer is, “Yes, there is a God, He will take this all away and everything else in this world; and the Bible has everything to do with us.” All of this is not much different from the persecution endured by the church in Jerusalem when they were scattered from their homes, their jobs and separated from family and friends (Acts 8:1-4). It is to these Christians and others like them that Peter writes his first epistle. He gives them a message of hope that is just as relevant and powerful as it was when it was first written.
New Heavens & A New Earth
This phrase is used to refer to the world we will inhabit in eternity with God (2 Peter 3). It is not a mere cleansing, renewal or restoration of our present world like what God did with the waters that covered this planet in the days of Noah. Peter draws a clear contrast between the destruction of the old world and the coming destruction of the present world. Our present world is reserved for fire. “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up… all these things will be dissolved” (vv. 10-11). Our present world will one day be gone (Matthew 24:35); there will be no place found for it (Revelation 20:11). But we have another place Jesus has prepared for us in His Father’s house (John 14:1-3; cf. Hebrews 11:16). This inheritance is “reserved in heaven” for us and is not just new in time but in kind, “incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away” (1 Peter 1:3-5; cf. Colossians 1:5). The new world will be spiritual, heavenly and eternal not physical, earthly and temporary as is our present world (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:11).
A cartoon in the newspaper showed a little boy and girl around their Easter baskets on Easter morning. “Who colored all these eggs?” the little boy asked. “The Easter bunny” said the girl. “Who gave us the jelly beans?” asked the little boy. “The Easter bunny” said the girl. “And the chocolate rabbit?” asked the boy. “The Easter bunny” said the girl. In the next frame the family goes to worship and the preacher proclaims, “…they came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled back. Who could have done this?” The little boy hollers out, “The Easter bunny?”
On this Easter Sunday I thought it important for us to ask, “What does the Bible say about celebrating Christ’s resurrection?” Here are three important answers from God’s word.
The Not so empty tomb
Jesus Christ really was raised from the dead about 2,000 years ago!
There are many proofs of His resurrection. For example, the record of the many eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, the beginning of His church and the new-found faith of His apostles, the unwavering faith of first century Christians even in the face of persecution and the conversion of the persecutor of the church, Saul, into the faithful preacher of the gospel, Paul.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135