When I was younger, I thought that the role of the church was just to remember Jesus, to be His fan club. When the church celebrated Jesus’ resurrection during easter, I thought that the point was simply “how good for Him! He didn’t remain dead. I’m so happy for Him!” What I didn’t get was that the Bible actually says that those who follow Him will rise from the dead just as He rose from the dead. He is “the firstborn from among the dead” (Col 1:18). Or as Paul puts it in his famous passage about the resurrection in First Corinthians:
Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor 15:20-22)
I seriously didn’t know this when I grew up. Even though I said that I believed in God somehow, I believed that I would disappear into emptiness when I dropped the ground, that I would simply become nonexistent. And I realized that this didn’t mean that everything would become black and silent, because I wouldn’t have eyes or ears to see or hear with. It was quite frightening to try to imagine what death would be like.
My father brought me to church on April 2 2006, and I wasn’t too excited since I had been there before and literally thought that it was the most boring place on earth. But for the first time, I actually started to listen to what they were saying. The Apostles’ Creed said “I believe in the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting”. Now, these were good news! I started to read the Gospels, learned that “gospel” really means good news and that it’s central message is that when we follow Jesus into the Kingdom of God, we get eternal life:
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (1 John 1:2)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. (John 3:36)
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor 15:53-54)
I was thrilled, realizing this! Death will not be victorious, Jesus will be! If I believe in Him, I will be immortal. I drank deeply from the comforting words in the Bible that spoke about the eternal glorious life that Jesus promised His followers. But after a while, I started to doubt. How do I know this is true? One evening, I prayed passionately that God would show Himself to me, that I would see Him and not just read about Him so that I may know that His promises are true.
And then I did see Jesus.
But that’s a topic for another blog entry 🙂