Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if your strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow.
Furthermore, the life of a Christian on earth is like light living in the midst of great darkness and moral depravity. Our lifestyle and values are different from the world. The world puts self before God; we are called to deny self for the sake of pleasing God. The world can enjoy the pleasures of sin; we are instructed to flee evil desires and live a holy life. We in Singapore are more fortunate in some sense—we could worship God freely. Our brothers and sisters in some parts of the world are persecuted with great sufferings for being Christians. Thus, if life is like this: filled with sufferings, then life is meaningless.
But we praise the Almighty God because the God and Saviour whom we worship, follow, and serve has conquered death. He who was dead has risen from the dead, and is alive forever. Some 2,000 years ago, this man Jesus Christ died. But against all impossibilities, three days later, his tomb was empty. This seemed impossible: Jesus tomb was made of rock and sealed by a large rock. His tomb was guarded by Romans soldiers who could not and dared not fail in their duties. This tomb was sealed by the Roman Emperor’s seal so that no one, much less the timid disciples, would dare to break it. The consequence of breaking it was death by crucifixion.
But the impossible happened. Three days later, the tomb was empty. The seal was broken. The grave clothes that wrapped Jesus’ body was still in the original shape except that there was no body in the grave clothes. Then news came: people at different times saw Jesus alive. Even Jesus’ enemies saw him alive. Jesus is alive! Jesus’ life is also alive in us and Christians can feel it: “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom 6:4). Every Christian who has truly believed in Jesus by accepting him as our Saviour can testify: Jesus has changed our lives from darkness to light. We are able to put away sinful habits when we look to our Saviour for strength. As John Newton, a morally corrupt slave trader turned pastor, wrote in his song: “Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me,” Jesus has changed our lives. He did so by his resurrection life that he gives to every Christian. One day, we will see our Saviour face to face. Then we will experience completely this resurrection when he gives us a new and resurrected physical body that will never fall sick, never sin, and will never die again. “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54).
Life on earth is temporal. The sufferings now are temporal. One day, our Saviour will put all things right. Every Christian has a sure hope: the hope of resurrection. Because Christ has risen from the dead, we too will rise from the dead: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20). Meanwhile, let us not give up in faithfully following and serving the Lord:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Cor 15:58)