Devotion and Prayer for Week of August 25, 2013

Meditation for the week of August 25, 2013

 

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, that I make,

shall remain before me, says the Lord,

so shall your offspring and your name remain.

From new moon to new moon,

and from Sabbath to Sabbath,

all flesh shall come to worship before me,

declares the Lord.” Isaiah 66: 22-23

 

When you think of the after life, what do you think of?  A lot of times, we think of angels with wings, and clouds and harps, and our souls floating listlessly in the peaceful calm of the air.  In fact, often we hardly think of the afterlife as being really physical.  But what does the Bible tell us about the afterlife?  The Bible always talks about the afterlife in terms of the “New Heavens and the New Earth.”  In the New Testament we read St. Paul saying that Jesus will return and He will raise all of the dead in their bodies and give eternal life to all who believe in Jesus.

At first glance, this can sound disappointing, perhaps.  We all know that life in these bodies comes with its fair share of trouble.  After all who hasn’t experienced some kind of sickness, or bodily trouble whatsoever?  No one.  In fact as we age those troubles only increase.  Maybe we get arthritis, or diabetes, or even dementia or Alzheimer’s.  With these ailments, who really wants to keep a body for eternity?  It really doesn’t sound all that appealing does it?

What we often forget, though, is that our bodies bear the same marks of condemnation as the whole world.  In the beginning when God created everything, Scripture tells us that He looked at everything and saw that it was “good.”  You see, the problem isn’t with our bodies, it’s something far worse.  The problem is sin.  When our first ancestors, Adam and Eve ate of that forbidden fruit, the result was death.  That is what God had told them: “Eat of this fruit and you will surely die.”   Of course as we read the story in Scripture, it’s easy to think that in His mercy, God kept them from dying, because all He did was kick them out of the Garden.  However, the reality was that they began to die as soon He did that.   When they were separated from God, they were left to a fallen world, a world where there was death, and all of death’s qualities: pain, suffering, illness, trials and tribulations.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story.  In His grace our Heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to take on our sin and die death in our place.  On the cross Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me?”  And in that He showed that He suffered the separation from God that we should suffer.  But of course that wasn’t the end of the story.  Since Jesus had lived the perfect life, God raised Him from the dead to a life that could never end.  Because of that resurrection, we have the promise that our bodies will be raised too.  Of course, that resurrection will be most glorious, literally. We’ll be raised with out the effects of sin – our bodies will work correctly.  There won’t be any more pain; there won’t be any more suffering; trials or tribulations.  There will be no arthritis, diabetes, or dementia.  How wonderful it will be!

Of course as great is this all is, it’s all only a by-product of the part of eternal life that will really be the greatest – we will get to stand in the presence of our God forever and ever.  As our verse said, “all flesh shall come to worship before me.”  Think about that.  This is the God of the whole universe, the One who created the world from nothing, and we Christians will be with Him forever.  In fact Scripture tells us that He will come and wipe away our every tear.  Not only will He know each and every one of us, but also He will come to each and every one of us individually and speak to us.  That really is something to look forward to for the after life.  To God alone be the glory.  Amen.

 

Our Weekly Prayer

“Lord God, Heavenly Father, in Your gracious mercy, You created our world in the beginning and You made it good.  Showing even greater mercy, You sent Jesus to forgive our sin which ruined Your good creation and brought death to this world.  We pray that You would grant to us that faith which looks above all to that last day when we will be with you eternally.  Amen.