Preach the Resurrection"Do you say with Martha, “Yes, Master. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One we Have so long awaited?"
The Salvation Army has 11 Doctrines of the Faith that we look to for guidance and direction. Doctrine 11 states, “We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.” As a Christian, I do believe in the resurrection from the dead. The proof is found in the Holy Bible.
Many questions on the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ seem to confound common sense. Such questions have haunted people for time immemorial. The Book of Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible, shows Job himself asking, “If a man dies, shall he live again? This thought gives me hope, so that in all my anguish I eagerly await sweet death!” (Job 14:14).
The Lord Jesus Christ answers this question Himself. After Martha rushes to meet Him after her brother Lazarus had died, she tells Jesus that if He had come earlier, He could have prevented Lazarus from perishing. He responds, “I am the one who raises the dead and gives them life again. Anyone who believes in me, even though he dies like anyone else, shall live again. He is given eternal life for believing in me and shall never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26 TLB).
Well, do we? Do you say with Martha, “Yes, Master. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One we have so long awaited” (John 11:27 TLB)? The founder of the Methodist Movement, John Wesley, once said, “They who lived a truly spiritual life are now living in eternity.” Eternity is not coming over the horizon. It is here. It enfolds like the atmosphere about us. It arches over us as do the heavens above us. We call that little period in which we live here on Earth “time,” and when we “shuck off this mortal coil,” we anticipate entering eternity.
On that fateful Good Friday when the Lord Jesus Christ died, His disciples saw all their hopes turn into ashes. Then, on the day of the resurrection, when Jesus stepped forth from the grave, those dashed hopes burst into quenchless flame, for Jesus was risen from the dead. Many years later, Peter, one of Jesus’ first followers, writes with overflowing thanksgiving and joy:
“All honor to God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; for it is His boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family. Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead” (I Peter 1:3 TLB).
The resurrection was God’s complete answer to every question, and He swept away forever every ground of doubt. As Paul declares, the lowly suffering crucified Christ “… was born of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4 MEV).
It is so easy to kill time—to let it slip through one’s fingers like sands of the seashore, or to fritter it away doing some good or better thing, instead of the best thing. One of the snares of this day and age is our exceeding busyness. It is a snare set to trap every one of us into not thinking about eternity. What we must do today is simply preach Jesus and the resurrection. As the English Evangelist Rodney Smith said, “No man can preach Christ who isn’t in love with Him. To talk about love one must be a lover; and when any man can say with Wesley, with all his consecrated, enlightened, redeemed manhood, ‘Jesus, Lover of my soul,’ he can preach Him. But to preach about Christ when the heart is not in love makes the words fall like gravel instead of the gentle rain.”
Are we living the resurrection life now? Let us, as believers in the Lord Christ, move forward by reaching each and every person with this message of the resurrection, so that they may think about eternity.
Captain Charles Smith is the Corps Officer of The Salvation Army in Jonesboro, AR.