When the execution date, 9 April 1945, was set for imprisoned German theologian and Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he walked calmly toward the gallows, peacefully giving away his life without bitterness or hatred toward his executioners. He had renounced a quiet and secure life of teaching and writing in the United States to return to his homeland. He wanted to be with his friends and family and suffer whatever fate they were to face, knowing the joy of everlasting life guaranteed to him. His last words were, “Das ist das Ende – für mich der Beginn des Lebens.” In English, “This is the end—for me, the beginning of life.”
For centuries, many have entered battles and disregarded their own life’s hopes and dreams, knowing that they probably wouldn’t return home. The sure hope of a resurrection and return to friends and family on a newly restored earth allowed them the freedom to put their life on the line without flinching.
When we lose our loved ones (including our pets), we can receive the terrible news with the comfort that there will come a real day when we will be forever reunited. There may be sorrow and weeping in the night, but we are guaranteed by the divine promise of Jesus’ resurrection great and lasting joy in the morning.
The truth about Jesus’ resurrection and the promise of our restoration without end, on a real earth in physical bodies, far more than we experience in the here and now, allows people to toss aside temporary benefits for those that can’t ever be lost or taken away:
-Young and old have forsaken very high positions and lavish salaries to set out on a course of ministry and missions that guarantees them only suffering, financial struggle, and life on the lowest rung of the social scale.
-Men and women have willingly given up extravagant wealth, inheritances, international business positions, professional sports, acting careers, and more to enter a life of anonymity and sacrifice.
-Political figures who believe in Jesus’ power and the actuality of his resurrection uncompromisingly put their entire reputations and futures on the line for what is right and just.
The Bible, church history, and Christian biographies contain real-life testimonies of those who had no other hope than what God had promised in every type of situation. The value of our reading these books is to see how each trial is resolved in some unique, unexpected way—miraculous rescues, healing, and answered prayers to desperate needs. These everyday experiences demonstrate that our solid confidence in the future is no mere delusion, but an intelligent and reasonable expectation based upon facts gathered from the lives of those across the globe.
We all can face complete failure and rejection by worldly standards, knowing Who guarantees our future life. The promise of resurrection at the end of this earthly life and many little resurrection experiences between the present and the final end far overshadow any of our losses or sacrifices now. This is what the Bible assures us.
So what is your resurrection story—your solid hope this Easter season?
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