Raised on the Last Day
October 1, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
What do you look forward to?
I remember as a kid looking forward to Saturday morning cartoons. As I grew up, I looked forward to getting my driver’s license, going to college, and getting married. We all have events, holidays, and things that we look forward to. These things give us hope so that we can endure trial or hardship in the present.
Did you know that it is a core character quality of Christians to look forward? Christians are to be people looking forward to the return of Christ. This longing ought to shape how we live today and what we value as important and how we endure hardship.
The apostle Paul celebrates the conversion of the Thessalonians by highlighting their longing for Christ’s return. In 1 Thessalonians 1 he commends, “How you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven” (v. 9-10). New values and longings of the heart turned these idol worshippers into people who wait for Jesus. Are you marked by a waiting for Jesus?
The apostle John speaks to those looking forward to Christ’s return and those who are transformed by such a longing. He writes, “Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 Jn. 3:3). If you really long for and look forward to something, like going to college or getting married, you order your life so that you can enjoy those things. The same is true with looking forward to Christ’s return. This longing shapes, even purifies, our lives.
Paul also explains why someone would look forward to Christ’s return. He says in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness… and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” A literal crown of righteousness may not sound appealing, but it represents the acceptance and eternal life to be enjoyed in the presence of God. There is no greater good than God. When Christ returns, all that has separated us from God will be eradicated.
When Jesus says that he is “the bread of life,” he wants us to be satisfied in him. He alone is sufficient for our spiritual need. While unpacking the sufficiency and goodness of this metaphor, Jesus repeats a phrase four times: “I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:39, 40, 44, 54). In this statement, believers are assured that our future is secure, not because of our faithfulness, but because of Christ’s power. He promises to conquer the power of death and the condemnation due our sin. On that last day, sin and death will be eradicated. And we will enjoy being in the presence of God forever.
Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:54). Part of feeding on and drinking Jesus is looking forward to what he promises to do for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and love his appearing.