We are living in a Saturday world. That space and time between the finished work of Jesus and His return.
As we celebrate Holy Week we live out this story at the micro level: The solemnity and weight of Good Friday, remembering the sacrifice of Jesus. The pause of Saturday, expecting the coming victory. Then, the victorious climax of Sunday, celebrating the risen King!
If we expand outward this experience to the macro level, we are living in one long Saturday. And much like the disciples 2,000 years ago, we are living in a sense of uncertainty and fear. The King seems to be a long time coming, and things don’t seem to be getting any better.
But thank God we can experience joy and victory in this Saturday world. We have a firm anchor in the past and a guaranteed inheritance for the future.
Here are three reasons the return of the King means everything while we wait in this Saturday world.
It Means our Salvation
The Apostle Paul does not hold back any punches in his letters to the church at Corinth. At one point in his first letter to them, he addresses an odd belief which had popped-up in their congregation.
Some were arguing that “there is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12).
Seems odd for a church that had placed its trust in a risen Savior, right?
Paul thought so too…
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.1 Corinthians 15:17-19
Paul’s logic is completely sound. If Christ had never risen from the dead, it means our Savior would still be sitting in a tomb. Therefore, what would be the point of our faith?
Interestingly, Paul notes we too would inherit the consequences of sin: death and separation from God.
But wait, didn’t the cross take care of sin?
Yes, but it seems Paul is arguing for a package deal here. Jesus paid for our sins on Good Friday and then put away death (the consequence of sin) on Resurrection Sunday.
This has huge implications for us: our salvation will only be complete when Jesus returns. He will cause the resurrection of the dead so we too can inherit the eternal life He had inaugurated.
It Means Death does not Have the Final Word
We can look back at the wonderful works of God and look ahead to His finale. But waiting in this Saturday world is hard. All the suffering around us can make the hope of Sunday feel intangible.
The church at Corinth had their doubts. So Paul offered this powerful description of the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead:
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:54-58
When Jesus rose from the dead, He rose “imperishable.” (No rotting bananas here).
Also, note how Paul describes our resurrection as “clothed with the imperishable” and death’s end as “swallowed up in victory.” He’s using some very physical, vivid language here to describe how we inherit eternal life through the resurrection.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He wasn’t a disembodied spirit roaming the land. In fact, He ate food. Thomas touched the holes in His hands. He made a camp fire. At one point, Jesus tried to comfort the flabbergasted apostles…
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”Luke 24:37-39
By showing His resurrected self, Jesus wanted them to know the reality and the power of the resurrection. We too will share in the same type of resurrection Jesus experienced (see 1 Corinthians 15:19-23).
It Means the Restoration of all Things
As we linger in this Saturday world, it can make some the rosiest of us become a Debbie Downer.
Aside from death being “swallowed” up when Jesus returns, it also means the healing of everything.
A hard reset, back to Eden.
In the triumphant climax of the Bible, God resolves the greatest tension felt by His people: longing to be in God’s presence…
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Revelation 21:3-4
When the King returns, “God himself” will be here on earth. Just as Adam and Eve experienced unhindered blessings in God’s presence before sin entered the world, we too will experience the joy of being with our King.
Waiting for Sunday in this Saturday World…
As you celebrate the joy of Resurrection Sunday this weekend, remember…it’s only a taste of the goodness to come.
And as you keep waiting in this Saturday world–with all of its evils and pains–know that one day the King will return and reign in complete justice. He will set all things right and make all things new.