What Will Happen Tomorrow?
We may make our plans from day to day – even hour by hour – but we can never be sure that we shall be able to do what we plan.
If ever we needed to be convinced of the truth of that statement, events of which we are only too well aware have done just that: the Asian tsunami, terrorist bombings, the latest earthquake – these are things which ended the lives of thousands and changed the lives of countless more.
Facing the Unexpected
You and I, of course, are well aware of the way in which the unexpected can happen at any time. At least we like to think we are, all the more so as we grow older and supposedly wiser. That is why we take out insurance policies on things we own, yes, and on our lives too. If we have dependants we are not being very wise if we do not make provision for them should anything happen to us. Even so, it is often the case that we never expect disasters to befall us and are taken aback when trouble comes.
Is there anything we can do which will enable us to face the real challenges and uncertainties of life? Indeed there is, for if we think seriously about the future there is something we can do now which will prepare us for whatever tomorrow might bring.
Life after Death
Nobody likes to think about the day of their own departure: all the more so if there is no belief in a life beyond the grave. Do you believe in an afterlife? If you don't, then do please read on. Many people sincerely believe there is life beyond the grave. Is this just wishful thinking or just a means of taking away some of the pain caused by bereavement? If you do believe in an afterlife, how sure are you?
Just suppose that one day you met a man whom you knew well and who you yourself had seen die an agonising death with appalling injuries. You had not only seen him die, you witnessed the burial of his corpse. Imagine that when you met this same person again – alive and well – that the marks of those injuries were still apparent. Would you then believe in resurrection from the dead? I'm sure you would!
Of course you'll know where I am coming from. This was exactly the situation when Jesus of Nazareth, having been cruelly executed by crucifixion, and then buried, appeared three days later to those with whom he had lived and worked for more than three years.
His death had come to them as a great shock. They had believed that he was the Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God. Now they were convinced that he was alive. That wasn't easy, not at first, for it was the last thing they expected, having witnessed his death on the cross. So for the next six weeks the risen Jesus was seen by eleven of his disciples and by many others. On one occasion he was seen by more than five hundred people at once. At the end of this time the record tells us that his disciples witnessed his ascension to heaven and were told he would return to earth again just as they had seen him go.
Can We Believe?
The documents that record what we have been describing are part of the Bible. There can be no doubt that these people really did believe they had seen Jesus of Nazareth, raised from the dead. Remember this. Many of those who claimed to have seen him alive – and preached about it – faced persecution and death for their belief.
Please read these documentary accounts for yourself. Be critical and weigh the evidence, recognising that one of the strongest evidences is the fact that the Old Testament (written centuries before Jesus was born) predicted his death and resurrection.
We know that one day – unless Christ comes first – we shall all die. Because Jesus came back from the dead, does this then mean that we shall do so? Not necessarily.
At this point we must quote from the Bible – where else? This is what Paul, who claims to have seen the risen Lord, writes.
Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:20–23).
There are some very important things to notice in this quotation.
❖ Christ is the first one to have risen from the dead.
❖ Others will rise when he returns.
❖ Those who will rise are described as 'in Christ' and 'belonging to him'.
We must now face some direct questions.
❖ Do you believe that God raised His Son from the dead?
❖ Do you believe that Jesus will return?
❖ Are you 'in Christ' and do you 'belong to him'?
Your answers to these questions will tell you whether or not you are prepared for tomorrow – and remember, tomorrow will come – whether or not you have prepared.
I hope and pray that this short article will encourage you to think seriously about these things. (Printed with permission Finding God Ministries)