By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service
One nagging question existed before Job gave it verbal significance centuries ago, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).
Life would be dismal and bleak if it abruptly ended with no hope for anything beyond. Charles W. Koller, brilliant author, world famous teacher of preachers and seminary president said, “Death is not the end of life – only an incident along the way of everlasting life.”
In 1999, I listened to Gary Coffey, chaplain of the Putnam General Hospital, Hurricane, W.V., deliver an inspiring message which he titled, “Live as though He’s risen”, based on Luke 24:1-12. He was speaking primarily to hospital personnel, and those who do all they can to alleviate suffering and bring people back to good health.
Speaking of the problems we may face in life, Gary said, “When faced with the most difficult situations, what we said we believe is no longer what we expect.” He followed with this story.
“How different were the Jews who were hunted during the reign of Nazi terrorism. Written on the walls of their secret refuge underneath the Cologne Cathedral (Germany) were these words: ‘I believe in the dawn, even though it be dark; I believe in God, even though He be silent.’ “This is resurrection faith.
Being nailed to a cross, as Jesus was, and remaining there until death came was the common way for criminals to die. That was their sentence after being found guilty of crime. It was a torturous death. A terrible way to come to the end of life. No wonder Job and others wanted to know, “Is there anything more? Is this how it all ends?”
Easter is celebrated annually as the “day of days, the queen of Christian festivals.” It is never earlier than March 22 or later than April 25. It is only mentioned once in the Bible, in the King James Version. Most other versions refer to the day as Passover.
King Herod was persecuting the church. He had killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. He put Peter in jail, “Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4).
Easter is not only the most important of all Christian days, but it is also the oldest of the Christian festivals. St. Paul writes, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast” (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
In every country of the world, Easter is celebrated in the hearts and minds of believers. In some places, it cannot be done openly and freely as it is in America.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes the sting out of death, the victory out of the grave. Bill and Gloria Gaither, our good friends of 60 years, wrote in one of their songs: “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”
If you want to know more about living forever and the resurrection, read John, chapters 11 and 20 and I Corinthians 15 in the New Testament.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest fact of history. In fact, all history as we know it, is dated on the authority of His resurrection.
I want to live forever. That hope is assured through my faith in Jesus Christ. It is guaranteed by His resurrection. With St. Paul I can say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).
Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.