I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Our Glory Days
A dad takes a trip down memory lane with his son. They climb up the stairs to the attic, where the dad then opens a giant box full of memorabilia from his “glory days” as a high school quarterback. The son’s jaw drops as he pages through newspaper clippings with his dad on the front page of the local paper.
“Dad, was that you?!?”
“Yes, it was!” the dad replies. He throws on his old letterman jacket to prove it, but it didn’t quite fit. The dad had put on a few since his high school years. This once varsity quarterback was now pushing papers at an accounting firm; and it showed. “Those were the days” the dad says as he holds a picture of his younger, slimmer self. “I’d relive these days in a heartbeat.”
Anyone who has played high school sports knows that feeling. If we could, we’d relive scoring that winning touchdown. Or sinking that buzzer-beater three-pointer. We’d relive receiving that glistening trophy and holding it high for the world to see.
Even if you don’t play high school sports, everybody has their “glory days” they wish they could revisit. We’d relive days when we were stronger and in better shape. We’d go back to when we were still with that certain someone—before the breakup. We’d go back to before we made those costly decisions, before we screwed up, before we made those mistakes, before our lives began their downward spiral.
But those “glory days” are inaccessibly buried in the past—regardless of how much we don’t want to let them go. The trophies may still be shining now, but eventually they’ll start to show their age. Our jerseys will one day no longer fit us. The lettermen jackets will eventually wear out and fall apart.
But high school trophies aren’t the only things broken, faded, and falling apart. Our lettermen jackets aren’t the only thing getting boxed up and buried.
We are too.
We can be as health conscious as we want and work out every day, but our mortality is thrown in our face every second of every day. And there is nothing we can do to change that. We can try all we want to immortalize ourselves in our victories, our accomplishments, and achievements; but we cannot undo death. We can wax nostalgic all we want and reminisce of “glory days” gone by; but our “glory days” and their trophies have little impact and significance on the problems we face today—death included.
Is that all Jesus’ resurrection is? A celebration of another empty “glory day”? Is Easter just a day we nostalgically celebrate once every spring, but, beyond that, it really has no lasting, significant importance?
Not in the slightest!
You see, the Bible isn’t a catalogue of wishful thinking. These things actually happened. That Jesus rose from the dead isn’t some fictitious event cooked up by Christians who couldn’t come to grips with dying. Christ has died. Christ is risen. And Christ will come again.
Jesus’ tomb is still empty—and it will stay empty. And because Jesus has risen from the dead, that means you will rise, too! That Jesus rose from the grave vindicates and validates everything he said and everything he did. He is who he says he is. He is your God. Your Redeemer. Your Rescuer. And by faith, his victory over sin, hell, and the grave is your victory.
While our glory days are still yet to come in heaven, as Christians, our glory days are now too! Even when we’re faced with hardship, we already hold a trophy that will never expire. Even when we are persecuted for our faith, we still possess an identity in Christ that will never tarnish, rust, or rot—that being the eternal identity of being a blood-bought, forgiven, redeemed child of God. Even when we are faced with death, not even death can rob us of the victory our Savior has won!
You are clothed with the letterman jacket of Jesus’ righteousness and perfection. You are forgiven! You belong to God. You are heaven-bound. Your Savior has laid claim on you!
So, as you fight for the next five yards, find comfort knowing Christ has already won the championship.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, fix our eyes ever firmly on you—especially in the face of hardship and adversity. Fill our hearts with the peace and joy of your resurrection. Move us to never cease celebrating the victory we have in you over sin, death, and the grave, and move us to share this joy with those around us. In your name we pray. Amen.