By Kathryn Graves, Crosswalk.com
When we think of the Gospel, three elements come to mind. Paul gave us this succinct list in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 when he said Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day.
It is this last event that we celebrate at Easter—and without which Jesus would have been just another dead prophet. Of course, He couldn’t stay dead because He was God and the grave couldn’t hold him. Hallelujah!
But there are three other beautiful truths associated with the Gospel, and specifically Jesus’s resurrection, that I think we need to remember especially at Easter. These facts help us face our daily lives with greater hope—and the help of our Lord.
When the world seems out of control, family drama threatens to overwhelm us, or our finances unravel, we can trust His unchanging, unfailing love and provision.
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1. Jesus Is Coming Again
Just when we might think the gospel couldn’t get any better, it does. Not only did Jesus die for our sins, and then rise from the grave, but He’s coming again. The purpose of his Second Coming is to first bring heaven to earth, and then bring [a transformed] earth to heaven.
Sprinkled through the New Testament are references to this coming. The most direct of these is when Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for his disciples, and that he would come back again and take them with him to it in John 14:2-3. Jesus also referenced his return when he spoke these words to Peter after his resurrection when he appeared to the disciples “... until I come..." in John 21:22-23.
Paul taught the return of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:23. He goes on in verse 24 to tell us how Jesus will reign on earth. Through the rest of that chapter, he teaches further about our own physical resurrection upon Christ’s coming.
Then in Revelation, the event is detailed for us. Chapters 20 through 22 include some of the most exciting verses in the whole Bible. They tell the end of the story. Have you ever read a mystery novel and cheated by reading the ending because you couldn’t stand the suspense? As Christians, we can do that.
We have the whole story in the Bible. We don’t have to wonder or be afraid. Jesus didn’t leave us in suspense. He made sure we could draw comfort from our knowledge of the triumphant end.
We turn once again to Paul’s writing, this time in 1 Thessalonians chapter five, to learn how to discern the timing of Jesus’s return. He closes his discussion with the admonition in verse 11 that we encourage each other by remembering how it will all turn out.
We can do this because the end of God’s story includes a happy outcome for us. So hang in there. The best really is yet to come.
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2. Jesus Is in Heaven Praying for Us
I rely on this knowledge when I don’t know what else to do or where to turn. The New Testament gospels relate that Jesus rose into heaven after his resurrection. The first Christian martyr, Stephen, confirmed that Jesus was in heaven after his resurrection.
Luke recorded in Acts 7:55-56 how Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God just before Stephen succumbed to his injuries. What might have seemed like a senseless death to the rest of the world, was really Jesus shedding his human body so that He could return to his heavenly throne room.
Romans 8:26 says that the Holy Spirit prays for us, helping us when we don’t know what to pray for. Because we believe in the Triune God—meaning that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three parts of the One True God—we know that the Holy Spirit is actually Jesus Himself. Putting this verse together with Stephen’s vision, we learn that not only is Jesus standing at the right hand of God in heaven, but He is praying for us through the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus is always interceding for us, because he is our high priest!
We never have to feel like we’re all alone, or that no one cares about us. We don’t ever need to think Jesus doesn’t know, or isn’t doing anything to help, when the going gets tough. He is. He’s standing in the ultimate place of authority and praying for us.
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3. Jesus Is Preparing a Place for Us
We turn again to Jesus’s words in John 14:1-3, concerning Jesus’s return for his followers. This passage is a solid reminder that we have an ultimate destination—and it is with Jesus.
It’s not some random, general place, either. Jesus used the Greek word meaning remain, or stay. In Latin it is mansio, a traveler’s resting place. The word choice here indicates a particular place to stay where a person can rest. The Bible wasn’t written just for the disciples. It’s for us, too, so we can take this as our promise.
Doesn’t the idea of a place to rest and put your feet up sound inviting? Jesus knew exactly what we will need when he returns—and he knew we needed to hear about it now, in our crazy, stressful, sometimes frightening physical lives.
Jesus is coming again, and while we wait for his return, He prays for us. He’s also getting our ultimate abode ready. I say, along with John in Revelation 22:20, Yes! Come, Lord Jesus!
What a relief to know that we don’t have to worry about what we might have to face. No phone call, or doctor’s report, or accident ever catches Jesus off-guard—and He’s got a plan for how it will all work out in the end. We really can encourage each other with the words in the Bible that tell us Jesus is coming again, He’s getting our ultimate resting place ready for us, and He’s praying us through until we can get there.
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