Easter Sunday is always a challenge for preachers. The dominant thought is that most people come with thoughts of the first Easter on their mind. Consequently, for those who only attend church once-a-year (on Easter Sunday), they are exposed to essentially the same sermon with a different slant every year.
Yesterday, I departed from the norm and devoted my sermon more to the benefits of following God than to the resurrection.
But I did devote the first part to the benefits that come as a result of the resurrection.
When my Sports Illustrated arrived ten days, it contained an insightful special report entitled "Sterioids in America: The Real Dope." The special, three-part report centered on the fact that while performance-enhancing drug use gains wide media attention throughout the sports world, its use within society in general is often overlooked. For example, many independently wealthy middle-agers who can afford the $2000/month prescription for HGH are taking it regularly in a quest to feel better and live longer. Said one former university linebacker:
"Frankly, I don't care what anybody thinks about it (speaking of his use of HGH). I feel better...and I might live longer...If when I die there are any causes associated with my having used this, my kids, my friends, and a lot of other people will have learned a lesson. And if it turns out that it made me feel better and live longer, they'll know that too" (Sports Illustrated, March 17, 2008, p. 34).
Our society lives with a delusion, born out by the SI article -- a delusion that if we eat right, exercise right, sleep right, supplement our bodies right, then we can somehow head-off the one, great inevitability, death. We live with a delusion that our destiny is somehow in our hands, i.e. that the span of our life is somehow in our control.
In Psalm 139.16, David says, "all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
I am coming to realize that God put us, everyone of us, on this earth for a purpose. We were created on purpose by an omnipotent, loving Father with a purpose for our existence. And when that purpose is served, our loving Father will call us unto himself, stripping us of the delusion that our destiny is in our own hands while carrying us by grace unto himself.
The resurrection of Jesus makes that possible! It is the resurrection, the defeat by Christ of the greatest bullet in Satan's arsenal, that makes eternal, perpetual youth not a delusion based on dietary and drug supplements, but a reality for everyone who's staked their destiny on Jesus.