“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)
What words of comfort to close out a Church year, a year that was once again marked by fear, war, and terrorism. chaos, and much prayer. These words of St. Paul certify that there is hope for those who have faith in Jesus, the hope of the resurrection. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we also will rise. Death is not the end for us. Life eternal in heaven with Jesus is our reward.
The belief in the literal bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead is a central truth of our faith. It is one which we affirm in our liturgy as we recite the creeds. We deny this truth to our peril. Christ’s bodily resurrection is the ultimate proof that He defeated sin and death on the cross. This proof that He has forgiven us our sins. So we rejoice in the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus’ resurrection is proof that we too will rise from the dead. It means that we need not fear death for it is not the end. We need not worry about what is on the other side. People who lack such faith have much cause to worry about their eternal destiny but few of them even consider it. So many of the billions on our planet think they have it made based on their works. Many are so convinced that they are not sinners at all. We need to tell them the truth because, by faith, we need not fear God’s wrath or His judgment. We can rejoice that because of His mercy, we are not going to spend eternity in torment, separated from God. We know we will enjoy eternity in heaven in the presence of the Lord and in the company of our fellow Saints. So we have much to look forward to despite our current afflictions.