FAITH AND REFLECTION — Job, the Old Testament character and contemporary of Abraham asked, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) He answered his own question, five chapters later, when he boldly stated, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my body has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:25, 26)
Job’s confident reply is remarkable for several reasons. First, he did not have a Bible, a church or a pastor. What he did have was a lively relationship with the living God through personal dedication and consistent prayer and worship of Him.
Job’s beliefs and trust, biblically speaking, were head and shoulders above, not only above his contemporaries, but of the Jewish people for centuries to come. The Jewish perspective, by and large, had no such defined belief in the hereafter. In fact, many of them believed that what really counted was accumulating and enjoying wealth now and establishing a progeny for later. Consequently, their principal joy was attached to riches and their primary hope was in their offspring.
Job, whose name could be roughly translated, “hated, persecuted or object of enmity” had no reason, from the human perspective, to be optimistic. He had lost everything … his wealth, his children, his health and his wife. Three of his friends came alongside in his time of grief, but they provided more condemnation than consolation.
Job lost everything but his faith in God. That faith in the living God provided the affirming and constructive linkage between past personal catastrophe and future positive confidence. Tucked in between the two aforementioned passages we find Job saying, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.” (Job 13:15) You see, Job believed in the resurrection from the dead!
Resurrections are recorded in both Testaments. There are three resurrections mentioned in the Old Testament and the Gospels relate three accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead. In addition, several dead were resurrected when Jesus died. Later, in the book of Acts, Tabitha and Eutychus were raised from the dead.
With the matter of resurrection not being exclusive to Jesus, what makes His resurrection so special? 1 Corinthians 15:23 provides the answer. It says that Jesus was the “firstfruits” of resurrection. What is so unique and exceptional about the resurrection of Christ is that He does not have to die again. He lives forever more, while every one of the others who was resurrected died again! And what is so fantastic about this is that Jesus promised that all who believe in Him will be raised, not in a similar, but in an identical fashion!
He is risen! He is risen indeed!