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You Can Believe in Happy Endings Again

Posted by: Kim Stiver
Easter Sunday: Finshed
Focus Verse: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Oswald Chambers, the 19th-century missionary and author, once said, “Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust, vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. God ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture all in abandoned confidence in Him.” In our modern culture, the concept of venturing all — or surrendering everything we are — is becoming increasingly rare and extremely more difficult to cultivate, especially when it comes to believing in a God we cannot see, nor can be scientifically proven. As children, we start out with a rosy perspective and a willingness to believe in the impossible, and then we’re bombarded by cynicism in the education system, media, and pop culture. So, if we’re not careful, we can end up becoming pessimistic, bitter adults unwilling to consider believing in anything we can’t see, touch, or hear.
 
 
In our post-modern culture, belief in the unseen, miracles, and happy endings are considered passé. Rather than the supernatural being a daily reality as it once was for the disciples, it is now valued as entertainment only. Perhaps that’s why book sales and movie attendance for science fiction and fantasy are at an all-time high. As a society, we now pay money for permission to temporarily suspend our common-day logic and believe in the supernatural again. As author Tim Keller said, “We live in one of the first eras of history in which it is widely believed that a happy ending is the mark of inferior art. Why? Many are certain that, ultimately, life is meaningless and that happy endings are misleading at best. Life, therefore, would be better represented by paradox, irony, and a sense of frustration. Happy endings are all right for children’s stories, perhaps, but not for thinking adults.” 
 
But the death and resurrection of Jesus changed all of that with His words on the cross, “It is finished.” The Greek word for finished — tetelestai — is used inJohn 19:30 in the perfect tense, so it can be translated as finished or accomplished now and on an ongoing basis in full forevermore. In other words, the work that Jesus did on the cross exploded into action through the resurrection and will continue to have just as powerful of an effect on humankind tomorrow as it did on the day it was first completed. Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is continuing to finish His work in you and me right now… and into eternity. The resurrection ushered in a complete defeat of the worst ending ever — death — and then continues to lead us to an abundant life here on earth and forever more. Paul explains that the resurrection of Jesus swallowed up death in victory for all time and that we will all be transformed. I Corinthians 15:22, says “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.” 
 
So why then do most Christians today have a very hard time answering questions from skeptical friends who think we believe in fairy tales and legendary heroes? First, it’s because we often feel the burden to convince them of the truth of the resurrection story ourselves, rather than just relaxing and letting the Holy Spirit whisper, guide, and illuminate their clouded thoughts in His way and in His timing. Second, we usually begin our answer with a whole bunch of words and explanations rather than letting our lives speak volumes about Jesus’ sacrifice and the incredible continuation of that work in our lives. We are often like the followers on the road to Emmaus inLuke 24:25 who have seen and experienced the work of Jesus but struggle to proclaim the supernatural reality. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?’” Explaining the value of the cross and the work of the resurrection becomes much easier when we let Jesus shape our lives in such a profound and visible way that we become walking proof of His resurrection and love for us. We become new creations. Only when we allow people to see the new creations we are becoming in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) will the resurrection story become so real that we are visibly and undeniably transformed in such a way that the skeptical world will be drawn in and amazed. Like the Emmaus followers who had their eyes opened, “our hearts will burn within us.” Luke 24:35 says they went on to talk about Jesus non-stop to everyone they met. “Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized Him as He was breaking the bread.” Their eyes were opened to see the happy ending to their stories and they wanted others to experience the same hope. And by living our lives surrendered to Jesus, everyone we encounter can begin to see glimmers of God’s supernatural work for themselves. 
 

Scripture Meditations for this week:

Tuesday: Luke 24
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 5

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