Ever asked yourself that question? It usually comes at the end of a long day filled with one frustration after another, right? In your mind, you push back from the struggle and just wonder, “Why bother?” Why keep working at this relationship? Why keep fighting this sickness? Or why keep trying to find answers that don’t ever seem to come?
Most everyone has fumbled with those feelings at one time or another. Even the wealthiest and wisest man who has ever lived wrestled with the same questions. At the very beginning of the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon exclaimed in apparent exasperation “Meaningless! Meaningless!” … “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecc. 1:2)
It would have been easy for the disciples to come to the same conclusion as they stood at a distance watching Christ’s lifeless body being lowered from the cross that somber afternoon. It could have seemed to them that this man had just died like so many other would-be prophets that had come before. Had they been wrong about Jesus? Was what they just witnessed another confirmation that life was indeed meaningless and futile?
Thank goodness the story didn’t end at the crucifixion! Two days later, an angel showed up at the garden tomb, bringing an announcement that changed everything… “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.” (Matt 28:6) This simple statement still resonates through time, reminding us of the single most important truth that continues to give significance to the lives of believers today. This is His promise. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” (Jn 11:25-26) This coming Sunday, we’re reminded that Jesus is alive! And because He lives, we will live too!
Being a homeschooling mom means that I’ve had the opportunity to revisit material from classes that I would have otherwise forgotten since exiting high school, and you know what? Many of the things I’ve relearned have been much more interesting now than it ever was when I was a teenager. Case in point: World History. I spent the better part of a year teaching the kids Egyptian history, followed by an equal amount of time on Greek, and then Roman civilizations. I found it fascinating to delve into the religious and philosophical background of these cultures and to specifically discover how each of these societies was steeped its own complex beliefs about life after death. Their philosophies (and all other such ideas) have one thing in common… none of them has any proof that their ideas were correct.
Jesus Christ is the only teacher who actually verified that His claims about eternity were correct. He taught his disciples to believe there was a resurrection, and then proved it by walking out of the grave. By rising from the dead, He opened the door for us to see the inseparable connection between this life and the next one. What we do in this life matters chiefly because our actions now impact how we will experience the life to come. Without the empty tomb, Christianity would be just like all other religions that are based on conjecture and assumption, delivered by men who are still dead in their tombs. The most well-known verse in the Bible gives us this firm assurance… “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) That means that those who believe in Jesus possess eternal life already… right now, in the present tense! Jesus lives within us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and because death had no hold on Him, it has no hold on us either!
So, what’s the point of life? Jesus is the point! With Him, our existence should no longer be an empty pursuit of pleasure, and self-fulfillment. It’s about offering ourselves to God so that He can draw others to His life through us. As we embrace our purpose on this earth (to be His instruments of reconciliation ~ 2 Cor 5:18), it ought to change our relationships, assign to our work a new emphasis, and even redefine our moments of suffering. In short, it gives everything we do value and meaning.
Charles Dickens ends his classic novel, A Christmas Carol, saying that Ebeneezer Scrooge knew how to keep Christmas in his heart all the year through. This year, let us move beyond Christmas and strive to keep Easter – and Christ’s resurrection – at the forefront of in our hearts and minds, allowing it to permeate our perspective and daily alter our motivations.