Several months ago, we were told that a favorite lady at one of the retirement communities where we conduct services - we'll call her Mrs. Jones - had passed away. We were unable to glean much more information, and sadly assumed we would miss our dear friend and sister in Christ. Like Mark Twain said of himself, however, the rumors of Mrs. Jones' death were greatly exaggerated. She was sick, but recovered, and thankfully, is still with us to this day.
"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called, accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" (Hebrews 11:17-19).
In Abraham's heart and mind, Isaac was dead and gone. He had no reason to believe that God would stay his hand, providing the substitutionary offering of "a ram caught in a thicket by his horns" (Genesis 22:13). Mystifying and heart-rending as it was, the deed would be done, Issac would die, and for the first time in recorded history, a man would trust God to raise a beloved son from the dead. This did not happen, but figuratively, Issac forever thereafter existed as a resurrection miracle in the heart and mind of his father. Perhaps this is one reason the Apostle Paul refers to Abraham as "the father of all them that believe": "I have made thee a father of many nations, before Him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth the dead" (Romans 4:11; 17).
Believing in resurrection, particularly the resurrection of God's beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, constitutes an everyday reality in the lives of born again believers. We trust in a living Savior, one who lives in a Life beyond life whereby He overcame our greatest enemy. The empty tomb bears witness to the fullness of God's capacity through the risen Christ to lead and enable us in every challenge. Moreover, we receive the Lord Jesus not "in a figure" as did Abraham regarding Isaac, but in true and living reality. Christ did die, at the hand of His Father, and He did rise by the power of His Father. He now dwells with and within believers by the Holy Spirit, granting us the spiritual capacity to overcome all challenges as we trust Him. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4). "In faith" rather than "in a figure" - this is the blessed reality whereby our Father leads us to remember and affirm His risen Son. Mrs. Jones, like Issac of old, serves as a reminder of such glory every time we see her. She was gone, in our minds, but she is back. May we all in our own way serve as such lamps, shining forth with the glory of the Son who was gone, in reality, but is back forevermore as the risen Son in even more glorious reality.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
(I Peter 1:3)
Weekly Memory Verse
"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)