Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's Never, "Goodbye!"

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” – Matthew 28:5–7 (NASB95)

When they had finished eating, they stood outside of the pub, talked for a few more minutes, and just before parting ways, Lewis said to Vanauken, "I shan't say goodbye. We'll meet again." The great apologist then plunged into the traffic to cross the street while Vanuaken watched his friend walk away. When Lewis got to the other side of the street, he turned around, anticipating that his friend would still be standing there. With a grin on his face, Lewis shouted over the great roar of cars, "Besides—Christians never say goodbye." – Greg Ogden, in the sermon "Christians Never Say Good-Bye,"

Saying, “Good-Bye”, is seldom a happy thing. Sure, we are sometimes just going on a short trip with plans to return soon. But a lot of good-byes are more permanent, or at least they’re of an unknown length. The worst good-byes are at gravesides. Death has a way of separating us from loved ones in a way that no other parting can do.

Have you ever thought about the good-byes that were said by Jesus’ friends, family and disciples as he hung on the cross? Those who took down his body from the cross, wrapped it in burial cloths and placed it in the borrowed tomb, likely said some sort of good-bye. They did not expect to see him again. Yes, we know he had already told them he would rise from the dead, but it seems they didn’t believe him, or at least they didn’t understand he meant it in such a tangible way.

The women who went to the tomb early on the first day of the week, were going to say “good-bye.” They were going to perform the duty of preparing the body for burial since the earlier effort may well have been hastily done. They wanted to make sure things were right. What better way to say good-bye to someone you love?

Instead of what they expected to see and do, when they arrived at the tomb everything had changed. Guards were terrified and fled. The stone sealing the tomb was rolled away. And the tomb! It was empty. There was no body laying still as death. Jesus was gone.

This is why Christians never say good-bye. When Jesus rose from death, he gave to us the hope of eternal life. We will rise too. We will live again. It’s never, “Good-Bye.”