Hi, Rob here. Easter is fast approaching and I’ve been preparing for it in two different ways. One way has been to focus on Lent and we are doing a series at church on dying to self, dying to the world and dying to the lies of the enemy. The series will culminate on Easter Sunday with coming alive to God and his kingdom. This leads me onto the second way. I’ve been listening to a fantastic audio series by John and Stasi Eldredge called ‘Hoping in the coming Kingdom.’ Both ways have been good for the soul.
It is good to die to what does not belong to God. We know that it’s good to weed the garden, tidy the office, purge our cluttered wardrobes of useless stuff and yet we often fail to realise that we carry around unnecessary burdens that have nothing to do with who we really are in Christ. We gather dirt, dust and grime simply from living in a fallen and broken world, hearing the lies of the enemy pounding us all the time and trying to control life so we get some of what we want. We need to come to the cross, hand it all over to the outstretched arms of grace and allow the blood of Christ to wash us clean again. But all of that is for nothing if we don’t also come alive to God and his kingdom.
Jesus’ first words recorded in Mark are these; “The time has come…The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” After his resurrection Luke writes that: “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).” When he eats with the disciples at the Last Supper he says to them; “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God (Luke 22:16).” One of my favourite descriptions of the coming kingdom is in Matthew 19:28-30.
Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
The renewal of all things. Is that how you have thought about eternity? God wants to give us his creation in all its fullness. There will be a great redemption and the suffering will end and life in all its fullness will come. Our longing for beauty, relationship, joy and peace will be fulfilled hundredfold. Let your heart go there! Let your imagination run wild! What will you do when you enter the kingdom? I want to run into the arms of Jesus and share a long embrace. Then I want to enjoy the reunion and drink a toast with all the heroes I journeyed with. And then I want to explore! Maybe on horseback or in a kayak. Maybe running up a trail and bursting through into a great vista. It will be with friends and loved ones. There will be laughter and joy and a deep peace too profound for words. We will be home. This is the power of the resurrection. This is what Jesus has won for us – life in all its fullness, life without end, the life that is truly life.
This Easter as you die to all that does not belong to God, may you come alive to him, his kingdom and the wild hope that is set within your heart.