From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)
Following the crucifixion of Jesus, no one really anticipated his resurrection. Even though he described it to the apostles, it was more than they could comprehend. Yet it happened, and many witnessed the events associated with this miracle.
But the miracle does not stop here. Jesus tells us that he will come again to take us home. We must not be surprised a second time.
The early believers living in Corinth, just 20 years after Christ’s crucifixion, thought that Jesus would return to take them to heaven during their lifetimes. Some became disheartened as time past and Jesus still did not return to take them home. Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 15 corrected this misunderstanding. He tells them that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was “only” the start — the firstfruits — of everlasting life. Before he returned, much work remained to be done by Christ… and by his children here on earth.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
Jesus will return for us, but not until his work is complete.
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:24-25)
Then, the Lord will come for us and take us home.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Death will be swallowed up by victory, but first we must do our part in this miracle. We participate in this miracle by how we live each day.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:33-34, 58)
Concluding his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds them of the good news…
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)