All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity. So what transformed 11 scared and dejected disciples into fearless ambassadors? It was Jesus’ return from the dead and subsequent ascension into heaven. There were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried.
Was he really dead? The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were experts at the art of death. So when a soldier wanted to hasten the death of a man who had already endured a terrible whipping and was bleeding from wounds in his hands and feet, an upward thrusting spear through a lung and into the heart would do the trick. So certain of his death were the soldiers that they didn’t break the legs of Jesus. That was the usual way Roman soldiers finished a crucifixion. They knew that once a man could no longer support himself with his legs, he would suffocate since he could no longer breathe. The soldiers also knew that Jesus wasn’t coming back to claim his robe, so they gambled to determine who would get it.
To ensure that Jesus would stay dead and that his disciples would not try to steal his body and claim he came back from the dead, the tomb was sealed and soldiers were tasked with guarding it. To fail to do so could result in their executions.
Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected.
His disciples witnessed his ascension into heaven. So yes, Jesus is definitely alive. It is his power and authority that holds every atom in the universe together. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Given the events of these times, it could be soon. Are you ready? (see Matthew 25: 30-35)
Since the beginning of time, plagues have altered the course of history. Some were definitely by the hand of God to punish people for their sins and to bring about a change in behavior. (Exodus 7:14-11:10) Others have been through the natural course of a fallen world. Every living organism eventually dies. Our bodies are giant chemical factories that are continually destroying cells and replacing them with new ones.
Dangerous organisms continually test our body’s defenses. Viruses live within us all the time. Sometimes a virus mutates and our body struggles to recognize and defend itself from the mutating virus that may attack and destroy other cells. All these chemical and biological actions have been created by God. He designed them for good, and created mankind in his image so that he could commune with us. But man rebelled against God and that’s where the perfect harmony between man and God broke down. (Romans 5:12)
The resulting chaos on earth and the death that accompanies it are
the punishment for man’s sin. So, in that sense, the current COVID-19 crisis is
a result of God’s wrath. But God’s chief adversary, the devil, the embodiment
of evil, has been given temporary dominion over the earth. He is responsible
for the pain, loss and fear that billions of people are now experiencing.
People are suffering and dying from the virus, but people are also suffering and dying from other diseases, wars, famines, and accidents. Death will always be part of the human condition, but Jesus came to give life. (John 10:10) His death and resurrection opened the doors to a pain-free and death-free life everlasting with God.
Whether or not the Coronavirus is a direct punishment sent by God for the sinful action of men and women around the world, we know that through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we can know peace in the midst of uncertainty and fear. (Isaiah 41:10 and John 14:27) As with plagues in the past, people are searching their hearts looking for answers. Many are calling out to God for His mercy. (Revelation 21:4) He stands ready to extend it to all who trust in Him. (Revelation 3:20)
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
In one sense, they are the same. Heaven is a place where time will not exist as we know it on Earth. This means life in heaven will be eternal; no more death. Heaven is a destination Jesus promised for all who put their trust and faith in him as their Savior. He is the only way to that eternal place of peace, joy, abundant love and eternal life. In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also.” That is one of the greatest promises ever made to mankind. It’s called God’s grace. God giving us something we did not deserve and never could earn by our own good works.
Image by Dan Fador from Pixabay
In another sense, eternal life is much more than heaven. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ( John 17:3) What this simply means is that when you have an intimate personal life with Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have eternal life here and now. Then you will experience an abundant and exciting adventure with the one through whom God created the entire universe.
As you let Jesus transform your life into his image you will see and experience life as you never could have imagined. Then you have eternal life and your spirit/soul will never die. It will go to heaven where one day you will get a glorious new eternal body. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Where does God reside?
God doesn’t live anywhere. He is everywhere or omnipresent. It’s a concept that is hard for us to
comprehend since we are not God. However,
once we recognize that God is a transcendent being and operates outside of time
and space, it is easy to understand that God can be involved in every aspect of
creation. For example, nuclear physicists have hypothesized that at the
subatomic level the smallest identifiable quantity is light. So, just as light
is everywhere—inside every cell of the human body, inside every grain of dust
and blade of grass—God can be everywhere all the time.
In the Bible, writers of the Scriptures, inspired by the
Holy Spirit, describe God as one who is involved in every aspect of his
creation. You can test the theory of God’s omnipresence by talking with him. As
you become aware of your communication, you only have to imagine billions of
others carrying on a conversation with God at the same time. If millions can be
on Google at one time, it is not to difficult to reason that God can handle an
infinite number of communications simultaneously—being everywhere at once.
Three thousand years ago, David, a king of Israel and
prolific songwriter, penned these words that beautifully describe an omnipresent
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths,
you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
The simple answer is, no. But the forces of evil can both influence and tempt you, even if you are a Christ-follower.
As a child of God, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you are protected from any inroads of demons. In John’s gospel, he reminds us that “Greater is he that is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The “ he ” John is referencing is God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, who is within all believers. That Holy Spirit is greater than the spirit of evil represented by Satan.
Satan uses many devices to draw Christians away from God. He is a master of deceit and uses all manner of temptations to try and separate a Christian from his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In fact, it was on Jesus, that Satan tried all of his tricks to tempt Jesus to turn his back on his Father and the mission he came to earth to fulfill. Jesus was tempted in all the ways that a Christian may be tempted, but he did not give in, he did not sin.
Unlike Jesus, we are not God, and all people, Christians and non-Christians alike will sin. But, if you sin and you confess that sin to God and ask for his forgiveness, he will forgive and bring you back into a right relationship with him. The good news is that God also gives you the power to flee from temptation and not enter into sin. You have been given the free will to decide how you will respond. Choose wisely.
Last week we took an overview approach to answer this question focusing on God’s love. This week we have taken an in-depth search of Scriptures to see what else we can discover about whether or not mankind has a noble purpose ordained by its creator, God.
First, what is man that God is mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4). Well, God created man, a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5), with a purpose to rule over the planet Earth (Genesis 1:28). This purpose was in direct conflict with the former most powerful ruler of Earth, Satan. Satan attacks man even to this day to remove man as ruler and for Satan to try to gain back his rule over Earth and to destroy Israel.
But, Jesus the Lord God takes on flesh of a man (Hebrews 2:9), coming to Earth as the “son of man.” This son of man defeats Satan at the cross, and is crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9; Psalm 8:5). Jesus raises man to a highly elevated position as a son of God and brother of Jesus, through placement in Christ (Ephesians 2:6) and adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5), for those who receive him (John 1:12). Man is thus raised to the highest place of significance far above that of the place of Satan.
Such a work of God brings glory to God revealing his wonderful grace and mercy. Further, after having raised man to a high position in Christ, God then uses man to join with Him in order to carry out God’s will on Earth.
Man’s purpose is thus: To be an instrument used by God in the face of a powerful enemy, wherein God rules planet Earth through man, to accomplish God’s purposes, and so bring glory to God (1Peter 4:11; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:31). Therefore, we can conclude positively from the Scriptures that man has a noble purpose. A purpose that is good and honorable. A purpose that can be admired due to its impressive value in and through the work and activity of God.
(Note: The reference to man refers to mankind and includes both men and women, sons and daughters).