Matthew 24:27, ESV, “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
A good friend called me a few days ago to wish me a happy Easter celebration. She was my first nurse at our camp, she is now 99 years old but in extraordinary health. But she told me that expected me to conduct her funeral when the time came. I responded that I would speak at her funeral if she would speak at mine! Truly, we don’t know which one of us will be in glory first!
And to be honest, there are some here right now that might be present only in memory, with their remains beneath this soil next Easter. We just don’t know and cannot be sure when He will call us home. But what a glorious morning to open our eyes in His presence! Ever fear and anxious thought will be put to rest and, I believe, we will see things as we knew would be when we are finally with Him.
This morning we stand in a garden dedicated to God and in memory of many people that have passed on over the past 100 years. But oh, can you imagine what these friends, loved ones, and former members of this church, buried here right in front you, would tell if they could come back, this morning, and talk to us. What do you think they would they say this Easter morning? What would they suggest that you and I dodifferently—and what would they confess that they would do differently in they walked on the earth again? What would they tell you that they regret that they did not focus upon while they were here?
Consider what their eternal eyes have they already seen…what their ears have heard..,what their tongues have tasted….what incredible things they have witnessed that not a one of us could imagine..
There may be some, buried here in this holy place, that are not in glory right now. Their story to us would be very different, full of warning and foreboding. It would be a sad, hopeless, horrible, dreadful message about their separation from all the things and the people they loved and how utterly painful their new existence is. They would warn “sell all you”, “cut off your hand”, “break every relationship or idol” that is keeping you away from the altar of God! They would tell us that it is true: there is a horrible fate awaiting those who have refused to receive forgiveness of sins and have ignored the free gift of God.
But I am hoping that every soul buried in this cemetery is standing in His presence right now and rejoicing in their eternal life with Him. With that hope in mind, what would those who lie before us say if for only this morning, they were allowed to come back and give us a glimpse of glory and what awaits those whose hope is in the love and protection of Jesus Christ?
They would tell you, with wide smiles——“It’s true! Our Savior was telling us the truth all along! Your eyes have not seen, your ears have not heard, and you have not even dreamt of the things God, our Father, has prepared for you….but we have seen, heard and experienced it!” They would tell us of their mansions, of the peace, joy, incredible rest and excitement about every moment to be not only in God’s presence, but reunited forever with those that they knew—-and to come to be in love with those that they never met in this life, but are now bound to in heaven.
Beloved, because Jesus conquered death, none of those who have died and have placed their trust in Him have been lost to an eternal death or the extinction of their souls—because Jesus lives, not a one of the remains of those here, that are now in heaven, would even want to come back if they could. They have crossed over into eternal happiness and have found rest for their souls.They have no tears, no sorrow, and no desire to do it all again. No one in glory would ever chose to leave glory to come here again. The only One that ever did that was Jesus Christ—that’s how much the Father loves us.
All because of Easter.