Great news awaits us today: Jesus is risen! He has conquered death and returned to life, closing the door to death, and opening the door to eternal life for us.
Today, I would like to share three pieces of good news with you.
The first is the promise of eternal union with God. Following His resurrection, Jesus assured His disciples in Matthew 28:20, saying, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” What a remarkable promise and blessing!
I’ve read these words thousands of times, but it took a while for them to truly sink in. I always had a spiritual unease, a fundamental anxiety that nothing seemed to relieve. But in a single moment, it all vanished when I encountered God. It wasn’t just one act of grace, but rather many times, in countless different ways, that God revealed Himself to me. It was as though I were seeing Jesus in the flesh, standing right before me, promising never to forsake me. And in that moment, God’s words became my own, removing all my fears and anxieties from my heart.
Spiritual solitude can feel like a form of death, and we can’t avoid that fundamental sense of aloneness by any means in the world. However, Jesus has rescued us from that spiritual death through His resurrection. God is with you always. You are united with God in His grace.
Secondly, we have the hope in God and for His kingdom before us. Our hope lies in God, and heaven is the place where we will dwell after we die – an eternal resting place filled with God’s wisdom, love, and joy. We fix our eyes on that place and cultivate our hopes accordingly.
My teenage years were a time of aimless wandering, as I grappled with endless despair and dissatisfaction with both me(myself) and the society around me. I didn’t know the meaning of life, and often found myself asking, “Why should I live?” When I couldn’t find even a glimmer of hope, Psalm 62 became my beacon of light: “My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my hope comes from him.” These words lifted me out of the depths of despair. When I wholeheartedly embraced the word of God through my faith and believed in it with every fiber of my being, I found the purpose and meaning that had eluded me. I now approach each day with a renewed sense of excitement for life, knowing that heaven resides within me through God’s presence. As a pastor, I’m thrilled at the prospect of working with God to bring about His kingdom through you – Lakeridge Lutheran church.
Despair is a kind of death that can afflict both the mind and the soul, and it’s one of the worst diseases that a person can suffer. But there is hope, even in the darkest moments. Jesus rescued us from this kind of death through His resurrection, and God is now our source of hope. Let us, therefore, keep hope in God.
Thirdly, we have the gift of infinite freedom that God bestows upon us. In the Gospel of John (John 8:32), Jesus speaks to the people and says, “The truth shall set you free.” Through God, we are granted the freedom and strength to love Him and our neighbors fully. He frees us from all forms of social, mental, and spiritual oppression.
When I was in my twenties, my greatest desire was to find the truth. I cannot explain why I had this burning desire within me; it simply existed. At the time, I was not seeking truth for the sake of finding freedom. I often found myself wondering, “What is truth, and what will happen once I find it?” Consequently, I decided to pursue a degree in philosophy, hoping to find the truth through my studies. I was determined to devote my life to discovering it.
However, I did not find the truth through my philosophical studies as I had hoped. Modern philosophy no longer seemed to care about truth, which filled me with skepticism and doubt. It was then that Jesus appeared to me unexpectedly and powerfully, revealing the truth to me. The truth that I had sought for was Jesus. While I still cannot provide a philosophical definition of truth, I found what I had been searching for all along, and it granted me great spiritual freedom. My unhealthy obsessions and strange tendencies vanished, and I have since been able to accomplish many things with God’s help. Every day, I discover new opportunities and experiences that bring me tremendous joy and freedom in God’s kingdom.
Bondage leads to destruction and death in our lives, but Jesus broke the chains of spiritual and social bondage. The power of Jesus’ resurrection promotes both physical and mental health and grants us freedom from unhealthy addictions. This power manifests itself as the righteousness of the holy God and puts an end to irrational oppression in our society. We have that power that is given by the truth. Let us, therefore, use the power of resurrection to break the chain of spiritual curse, toxic bondage, and social injustice.
In conclusion, I highlight three key benefits of Jesus’ resurrection: holy union with God, hope, and freedom. These benefits are not just good news, but also goals that the church should pursue.
Firstly, let us grow the depth of relationship with God through prayers and meditations of the Word of God. Let us seek knowing God more. Secondly, let us holy tightly to this hope in God and lean on it in times of struggle and adversity. Thirdly, let us dare to dream of expanding the bounds of freedom with the understanding that God’s power can break the chains of injustice that oppress people. For that let us come together in prayer and to act, working together to make this dream a reality, inspired by the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit. May the Good News of God empower you always!
Easter Sunday, April 9th, 2023, Matthew 28:1-10
Pastor John Kim, Lakeridge Lutheran Church