A Glimpse into the Risen Savior’s Heaven
Soon the mourning of Good Friday will turn to the joy of Easter morning. But what comes Monday morning?
We have a choice to make on Monday – do we go with “That was nice, now let’s get back to real life,” or might we purposefully reflect on what Christ’s resurrection means in light of Heaven and our future there?
Just for fun, here’s a short list of really cool things that await true believers – all because Jesus died on that cross and rose again on Easter. For the sake of ease, I’m loosely paraphrasing some out of a chapter in Steven Lawson’s book, Heaven Help Us!
• At the moment of death, our spirit departs, and angels will immediately take us to heaven. “Hello, angels – wait – there’s Jesus!”
• We’ll see Jesus! This is where it gets incredibly personal. That moment will be a culmination of a lifetime of events. It’s the culmination of His blood shed for me, my acceptance of His awesome gift of redemption, the life I surrendered up with faltering steps and a million mistakes and yet, spurred on by the unfailing power of the Holy Spirit, I’m running with endurance and plan on finishing the race by facing down death, and then, miraculously I’ll be in His presence – it will all come together there. I will see Him whom I have loved through faith, at last face to face. The One who created me in my mother’s womb, the Father who has loved me like no other, the One I have lived for and hoped for, He will be there waiting for me.
• The hit song, I Can Only Imagine so beautifully posits, “Will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of You be still, will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall, will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all, I can only imagine, I can only imagine.” Read this one over a few more times – I can’t say it any better than that.
• We’ll have a glorified body, free of pain, healthy and alive beyond what we can imagine. We’ll get to find out just how we’ll look – will we be the same age we were when we died or will we all be white-haired or all be 33 or….? We will know and I think we will laugh and see how right it is and how good God is!
• Our bodies will not be decaying, and we will have strength and endurance for eternity. Mind-boggling. Our new, spiritual bodies will be conformed to Christ’s, with the wondrous abilities His resurrected body has. All we really know so far is that He could walk through walls, appear at will, travel through space and do “normal” stuff like eating and cooking. I’m up for that!
Lawson reminds us that these supernatural abilities will enable us to worship and serve God in ways we simply can’t right now, though we may wish we could. No more falling short or feeling like a failure!
• Our wardrobe will be waiting – gorgeous white robes!
• A wedding feast will be prepared for us – the marriage supper of the Lamb. A feast! I can’t wait to see how excited we’ll be and hear all the chatter! Who will God want me to sit next to there to get to know better? And the food – the wonder of food being prepared in Heaven – are there kitchens in Heaven? Is there a head chef angel in charge of preparing the food, complete with sous chefs, or does he snap his fingers and it appears? How many will it take to prepare for the millions of believers on that day? Oh, the delight of learning and understanding things beyond our comprehension here!
• But more important than the feast is the whole reason for the feast – the marriage to the Lamb! I can’t comprehend what it will be like to be welcomed by Jesus into a life of oneness with Him, where His perfect love casts out all fear and invites us into His home and future, where His purposes become ours and we can become even more like Him. We will know that as children of God, the Bride of the Lamb, we are loved and safe, cared for and provided for, cherished in a way we have never felt on earth.
• We won’t be doing this alone, we’ll be in one accord with all believers. I think of the joy of seeing those I did life with here – looking in their eyes as we rejoice over our hope become reality – and hugging as we share the knowledge that our shared work was not in vain. Similarly, meeting family members I never knew who prayed for the generations to come, or those I have prayed for but didn’t know personally, or those I prayed for and wasn’t sure of their salvation, and those who I have only read about, or heroes who inspired and encouraged me thousands of years after they passed on, and people of different races and cultures who are my brothers and sisters and have stories of Christ’s work in them for me to hear – oh what joy it will be to hear their stories in eternity!
Returning to more practical matters, Lawson gives a list of 6 things we’ll do in Heaven. I’ve left out most of his elaborations, but I do invite you to consider them further:
1. We will worship God because we will see how worthy He is to be praised! It will come effortlessly to us!
2. We will reign with Christ. We shall receive administrative responsibility to manage and oversee assignments in Heaven (Revelation 22:5). Each of us will have a specially designed sphere where we will co-reign with Christ over a new created order. The more faithful we are in this life, the more delegated responsibility we will be given in Heaven (Matthew 25:14-21). We will oversee cities (Luke 19:17-19), judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:30), and govern nations (Matthew 19:28).
3. We will serve Christ – as a kingdom of priests (as they had specific duties to fulfill – we can expect the same according to how He has wired us).
4. We will fellowship with one another. (That feast is one example.)
5. We will travel extensively. (I’m not sure about a biblical back-up for this one but it surely is feasible.) Lawson writes, “In our glorified bodies we will fly through space to vast new frontiers of the new heavens. We will go in and out of the new Jerusalem and experience the joy of discovering new frontiers of the new creation.”
6. We will rest eternally. Lawson writes, “In Heaven, we will rest from our wearisome labors (Revelation 14:13) and exhausting trials (6:11). All our striving…will be over. No longer will a sinful world drain us. At last, we will fully enter into the eternal rest prepared for us by God. Yet this rest will not be a rest from meaningful work and challenging activity. for the first time, we will be fully rested in serving God.”
I don’t know about you, but thinking on these things gives me joy and strength! I am more motivated and my faith is encouraged. Hope is renewed and my gratitude for the cross and the work of Jesus and the plan of God, well, it all just overflows into happiness. The Monday after Easter isn’t just a day to return to normal life, it’s another day closer to eternity with Jesus and the joys He has planned for us there!
by Jill Cristao, Director of Connections and Communications
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