Do you like surprises? Most people might say "Yes," but then again, it might depend on what kind of "surprise" you are talking about. Now when it comes to our Lord, all of us should be asking ourselves if we think the Lord has any "surprises" left for us. The answer to that question is the foundation of the Bible, our Faith and the future of the world.
Most Christians need to be reminded now and then that our Faith started out as a BIG "surprise." The disciples surely never planned on the Lord Jesus resurrecting from the dead. And even though our Lord told them over and over that He would rise from the dead, they just didn't fully understand or believe it ( Matthew 16:21). Even on Resurrection Morning, disciples like the Apostle Peter found the Lord gone from the Tomb and walked away wondering "What happened?" (Luke 24:12).
If you walk up to someone in any church these days and ask, "Hey, do you think the Lord has any BIG 'surprise' planned for His people?" you might get blank stares, questions or discomfort. Most Christians don't even know how to answer a question like that. They may even think you are weird for asking it. And yet, IF the Lord of glory does not have anything amazing and exciting ahead for us, we have lost the heart of our Faith. A Faith without surprises ends up being very predictable....at times routine and maybe for a few boring. After all, if church life is too much about potlucks or special speakers things can honestly become a little stale. Of course this is exactly what is happening to the American Church. Christiainity is on the decline in our nation. Some seem to be leaving the true Faith for other things that seem more real or a better use of their time. When you leave out the excitement and wonder of the future that the Lord gives us in Christ you can't really blame them.
Now the incredible thing about the Bible is that it has two BIG "surprises" planned and they are the SAME in nature. The New Testament surprise was that the Lord Jesus Christ would be raised from the dead into a permanent, glorified body that would never die again. The Old Testament had seen 3 physical resurrections: the widow of Zeraphath's son (I Kings 17:17-24), the Shunammite woman's son (II Kings 4:18-37) and a man raised out of Elisha's grave (II Kings 13:20-21). The New Testament Gospels also saw 3 physical resurrections: the widow of Nain's son (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:52-56), and Lazarus (John 11). However, the ONLY one that really changed the world and surprised the entire human race was Jesus' Resurrection. Our Lord's Resurrection was the seventh one in the Bible. His Resurrection was a Sabbatical one and it was designed to give the world rest because the work of redemption was DONE...just like Creation. The Lord Jesus Christ was and is the Creator and Redeemer of the world.
The problem we have faced the last 2000 years is that we have missed the other BIG "surprise." Much of the Church has heard about the 1st BIG "surprise," we call it "Easter." But in a very strange turn of events the 2nd BIG "surprise" is off the radar. You see the 2nd BIG "surprise" is OUR permanent Resurrection, not His. You can't have one without the other. The Lord Jesus is the "Firstfruits" of Resurrection as the Bible reminds us in I Corinthians 15:20. What about us? Where do we fit into the story line? Where is our "Easter?" Few have any answers at all! Some don't seem to care--Anyone for a potluck?
As we approach the Lord Jesus' return, it is time for the Lord's people to give this issue more attention. Something this central and important cannot be ignored or left undiscussed on a regular basis. After all, if Jesus is not going to return and we are not going to have an incredible Resurrection, then we surely are the most miserable of all people (I Corinthians 15:19). If Jesus isn't coming for us, there are a lot of other things we can do on Sunday. This Blessed Hope of Jesus' Return and our Resurrection is the foundation of Christianity. The fact that we see little awareness or focus on it explains the spiritual condition of the American Church today.
You might find it refreshing to realize that our Resurrection Day, our "Easter," was put on the calendar as a holiday so people wouldn't miss it. The Lord put it on the calendar to give His people an excitement to remember it as they looked forward to their future. This holiday is called the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah in Hebrew, and is found in Leviticus 23:23-25. This year the holiday takes place on Monday, October 3. Some future day the Lord will sound a trumpet from Heaven and the world we be surprised in ways that cannot be expressed in words. On that wonderful Day our bodies will be resurrected to be just like our Lord Himself (I John 3:2-3). What a day that will be !!!
The idea that one future day we will be like Jesus in a new body should stir our souls like nothing else. That is the goal of the Gospel, our life and all we do. For the believer, that future hope should direct and challenge our thinking. This world is not our home. Life is more than raising our families,working and politics. We are all here to be a witness to a Lord and a salvation like no other. We are alive to give a living testimony that Jesus Christ is alive and we have something in Him that words cannot express for their glory and wonder.
As that BIG "surprise" Day approaches, may all of us be ready and excited. We can't share in the world's pessissism and gloom. Our Savior is readying His return and His return one day will leave no one disappointed. Let's live with that anticipation and let's share that amazing love, hope and future with those around us. Even so, come Lord Jesus!