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"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
A Reason to Live (3)
Church of Christ
Jesus had none of the things which the world considers important; and yet He lived the most meaningful life ever lived. For the past two weeks we have been examining the life of Jesus to see what gave Him a reason to live. Thus far we have noted that Jesus had something to live for, something to live by, something to believe in, and something to share. Let’s look at one other aspect of His life, and then make some applications.
Jesus had something to die by. That something was hope—hope of being resurrected. Today when one considers his life, and understands that it has not been brought into subjection to God and His will, death must be a horrifying thought; he has nothing to look forward to, and nothing to look back upon. Jesus could look back with satisfaction and forward in confidence and hope. In His prayer to His Father in John 17 He said, “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (vv. 4-5).
The confidence Jesus had can be demonstrated by statements He made both on the cross, and prior to the cross. On the cross He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Prior to the cross He had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). We are told, “Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:19-21). Later His disciples made the proper application of what He had said, “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:22). On the first Pentecost following His resurrection, Peter quoted the words of the psalmist and applied them to Jesus: “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:26-27).
Christ’s life had meaning, not just because He was the Son of God, but because (1) He had purpose—His mission; (2) He had guidance—His Father’s will; (3) He had faith in His Father; (4) He had sacrifice—Himself; and (5) He had hope—the resurrection of His body. It can be properly said that a life without the first four of these could not have hope.
All of us need motivation to keep on living the Christian life. To live for Christ requires a lifelong commitment (Gal. 6:9; Rev. 2:10). This is especially true when we consider the surroundings we live in today and the enemy that we must face on a daily basis. Peter warned, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8).
So just how is all this applicable to you and me? If we want to have hope in death, then (1) our purpose in life must be to serve God; (2) our guide must be His Word (Psalm 119:105); (3) We must have strong and unquestioning faith in God and His Word; (4) and we must offer ourselves as sacrifices. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6). “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).
Study carefully the life of Jesus. Let His life be your life (Gal. 2:20). If you are “in Christ” then you have every reason to live.
Paul M. Wilmoth