Everything is broken...but it won’t be that way forever

Updated: Apr 1

P Easter Hope

by Matthew T. Martens

There was a lot of death in 2020.

Kobe Bryant died. Kenny Rogers died. Regis Philbin died. Eddie Van Halen died. Alex Trebeck died.

My best friend from middle school died of a stroke. One of my middle school teachers died of COVID-19.

Lots of people died of COVID-19. Lots and lots. A friend’s father died of COVID-19 a few weeks ago.

There was a lot of death in 2020.

There will be a lot more death in 2021.

Death and taxes, as they say, are the only sure things. I follow a Twitter account that posts the same thing over and over every day: “You will die some day.” Which is true. And yet the reality that we will all die – are all dying – makes death no easier when it actually happens to friends from middle school or beloved teachers or elderly parents.

Often, when Christians lose a loved one, I hear them say or see them post on social media something to the effect that their loved one is “home now” or, if the loved one was suffering from some illness or disease, is “whole now.”

While I understand the sentiment, I suppose, it’s not a Christian one.

Death is not our hope as Christians. Death is an enemy. Death doesn’t get us “home.” Death doesn’t make us “whole.” Death is a result of the fall. Death is a curse. Death is death.

What Christians have always placed their hope in is not life after death, but life after life after death. Our hope is and always has been in resurrection. Resurrection isn’t what happens when we die. Resurrection is what happens when our bodies are raised from the grave to life again at the second coming of Christ (1 Corin. 15:51-54).

To be sure, the Bible does speak vaguely of being present with Christ after death (2 Cor. 5:8). But whatever that means, it’s a bodiless condition. Paul says that we will be “absent from the body.” After death, my body will be here, in the ground. Or inside a shark, if that’s how I go. But here, nonetheless. In some way I will be with Christ after death, but it won’t be a whole me with Christ. The whole me is body and soul. Part of me will be here. Part there. What I need is resurrection. Then I will be whole again. And then I will be home again.

Which brings us to Easter. The story of Easter is a story of resurrection. In fact, it’s the resurrection story to beat all resurrection stories. There were other people in the Scriptures raised to life after death. But they all later died again. I know that because they’re no longer with us today.

Jesus, however, was resurrected from the dead, never to die again. He broke death. Death thought it was permanent. Jesus proved that wrong. “Death was arrested,” as the song says. And once someone or something is arrested, it’s powerless.

The story of Easter isn’t a story about how Jesus “went home” on Friday. It’s not a story of how Jesus was “whole again” on Saturday. Jesus was dead as dead can be on Friday and Saturday. He wasn’t home, and he wasn’t whole.

Easter is a story about resurrection on Sunday. That’s the hope. That’s when he was whole again.