On March 5, 2009, Michael Jackson announced his final concert appearances at the O2 Arena in London. During the press conference, Jackson said, “I just wanted to say that these will be my final show appearances in London. When I say this is it, it really means this is it.” The concert series was extended from 10 to 50 shows and all were sold out. Unfortunately, Michael Jackson did not perform any of those concerts because, 18 days before the first one, he died, and his death was announced around the world.
Michael Jackson’s was a more famous death than any of ours will likely be, but all of us are headed in the same direction as him. Aches and pains, illness and disability, growing old and frail: all these things remind us that we are dying, and there is nothing that we can do to avoid it.
But God has something better in mind for the creation that he loves very, very much. Clothing himself in human flesh, God the Son came to defeat death and decay for us. The cost for Jesus would be high. It would cost him his life, both in living a perfect human life and in dying a sinner’s death on the cross. Yet Jesus loves you so much that he did not consider that too great a price to pay to free you from death’s claim and give you a rich, full, abundant life with him that begins now and goes forward throughout all eternity.
Now please understand this: Jesus is the key! The reason that our present lives are rich, full and abundant is Jesus’ presence in our lives. The reason that life after death is going to be great is because it will be life with Jesus. The reason that we have a confident future hope of healing, renewal, restoration and justice in this world is because Jesus is going to come back to this world one day and make us and all things right. The goal of our faith is not earthly blessings, eternal life or heaven. The goal of our faith is Jesus because he fulfills all of our ultimate needs and desires with divine super-abundance. If we aim for something else and miss Jesus, we miss everything!
And so we rest in Jesus. Everyday we lay our lives down before him, and we invite him to come and live his life through us. And we trust that Jesus will do everything that he wants to do in and through us. And as we do that, our lives will become signposts that point to Jesus and say, “This is it!”
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep…. so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:20, 22b)
May the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection always bring you life-giving joy!
In Christ’s love,