An extremely tragic event happened recently in Orlando, Florida last week. 50 people were gun downed and killed in a nightclub by a cowardly terrorist.
When horrible things like this happen it often leads people to two things:
First we mourn the horrors and tragedies. We grieve over the lives that were lost and we cry out that this isn’t the way things are meant to be.
After that however, many of us wrestle with some deep questions about life:
Why is this world so unfair? Why does it seem like the bad guys always win? How can we fix the world so that things like this don’t keep happening?
We often try very hard to convince ourselves that we really do have hope, and that one day we will be able to fix this broken world.
But if were really truly honest with ourselves, I think most of us would have to admit that what we are placing hope in, doesn’t really offer all that much hope.
For example, gun-control is a hot topic discussion right now following this event. Should we stiffen up gun control to stop making it so easy for terrorist to get guns?
I whole heartily agree that these are good and needed discussion to have. I for one would like to see terrorist not be able to have guns in their hands.
At the end of the day, however, you have to admit, all this offers is the hope of a little bit less broken world.
I mean if the terrorist only had access to kitchen knifes he may have only been able to kill a couple of people instead of 50, but that’s still not exactly a utopia. If at the end of the day, all we can do is take guns out of terrorist hands, we have to admit that we still haven’t got rid of the terrorism, and the underlying hate that fuels it.
There’s so much wrong with this broken world that we live in, how could we ever hope to fix it all?
The Christian faith, however, I believe, offers the world real hope.
Hope beyond just ‘less evil’, hope beyond ‘a bit less unfair’. It offers hope of all things one day being set right.
And all of this hinges on whether or not Jesus Christ of Nazareth resurrected from the dead nearly 2000 years ago. If he did, then there is hope that no one can take away.
Why do I say that? Well if Jesus rose from the dead we can have confidence that these 3 things will happen in the future:
1)A Future Resurrection Of The Dead
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:3-6 ESV)
The hope proclaimed in the Bible, throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, and confirmed in the New Testament, is that death is not forever. God will one day resurrect every single human being from the dead.
The Bible doesn’t teach that our souls will float off in some kind of other worldly place, where we play harps and sit on clouds, and that God could care less about all the horrible things that happen on this physical earth!
Instead, it teaches that God cares very much about this physical world and that we will all be physically resurrected from the dead in this physical universe, and that the world itself will be set free from the curse of death and decay, and that God will one day make all the sad things come untrue.
Perhaps it is because this claim is just so ludicrous and hard to believe, that even Christians usually don’t teach this. But stop for a second and just think about how good of news it would be if it really were true that ever single person was going to be raised from the dead one day.
This means that as horrific of a crime as the Orlando terrorist committed, he can’t break God’s good creation beyond fixing. By Jesus’ resurrection we can trust that God can even undo the death of a human being. If he can undo that, there is nothing beyond repair in this world!
That is something to have hope it. I hope you at least want that to be true!
2)A Future Judgement
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:6-11 ESV)
Secondly, the Bible teaches that once everyone is raised from the dead, there will be a future judgement where every single person will have to give account for every single deed done on this earth.
This means that the Orlando terrorist will ultimately not go unpunished for his actions.
As of now, he got to take the cowardly way out and put a bullet to his own head. Many of his victims had to suffer slow painful deaths, and he got to die instantaneously. The Bible says, however, that one day he will have to stand before the Creator of the Universe and will receive God’s “wrath and furry” for his actions. (Don’t know exactly what that looks like but I have a feeling it won’t be pretty).
However, as excited as most of us are that justice will be served to the Orlando terrorist, this should put a level of soberness on all of us. Because, in reality, we’d love to believe that the brokenness of this world is completely outside of us, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are part of the problem, not the solution for fixing this world. We ourselves are broken and in need of fixing just like the world that is external to us.
Sure we may be less a part of a problem than ISIS terrorist, but that’s not exactly something to write home about.
Jesus’ death and resurrection offers hope to this too.
We can by faith place our broken lives onto the cross with him, and receive his perfect immortal resurrection life.
When we look to the cross and repent, acknowledging that we are part of the problem not the solution, and begin following the risen King, we are given a new Spirit to live by, that helps us to be world fixers rather than world breakers, and we have assurance that we are now friends of God reconciled to him and no longer under judgement.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galations 2:20)
3)A Future Rule And Reign Of God On Earth
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4 ESV)
Finally I have hope because I believe things will one day all be made right. God himself became a human in the person of Jesus Christ. And I believe that he died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He is coming back one day, not to take us to heaven, but to rule and reign as a physical king on this earth from Jerusalem, where he will put everything on this earth back into the way that it was meant to be.
There will no longer be war, violence, or any type of injustice.
Those that confess him as Lord and King now will get to rule with him and take part in the future restoration of this world. Once he is done restoring everything, he will destroy death itself and usher in a new heaven and new earth!
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26 ESV)