Revelation 1:4-6 - John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Want to be depressed? Of course, you don't.
Still, that is what often happens when people read Bertrand Russell's 1903 essay, "A Free Man's Worship."
Here's an excerpt or two:
"The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death ... let us remember that they are fellow-sufferers in the same darkness, actors in the same tragedy as ourselves ... Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day ...."
Depressed? You should know Russell was actually trying to encourage people to make the most of today, to support others, to not get bent out shape about the insignificant items of life. That's what he was trying to do, but what he succeeded in doing was make me depressed.
Sadly, there are millions who believe Russell was right about death being omnipotent.
I know of nothing -- nothing which can counteract that contemporary creed -- nothing other than those three, very simple words: "Christ is risen!" If those words are real, then everything is changed. If the Christian creed is correct when it says, "He rose again from the dead," everything is changed. If Christ is risen, then Christianity alone is true, and every other religion is false.
Follow me on this: if Christ is risen, then you can believe Him when He said, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). If Christ is risen, you can trust Him when He says, "Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19b).
If Christ is risen, we can be sure that Mr. Russell was wrong; he was very wrong, indeed.
He was wrong in thinking death is omnipotent. A living, breathing Christ has broken that barrier, and now He assures us "Because I live, you will live also." With Holy Spirit-given faith, we do not approach the darkened gate of death with groans and sighs.
No, we rejoice because death is the gate to life, and on the other side is the light which comes to these who will spend eternity with their Savior and Lord.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for the Savior's victory over death, I give thanks. By Your grace and through His blood, my eternity has been changed. In the risen Redeemer's Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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