Resurrection: The Lord's Day

In the times in which we live, fear and uncertainty abound.  Governments are shutting down businesses.  Some states have mandated that people “shelter in place”.  Economic dominoes are toppling.  Hospitals are beginning to be strained. 

How are God’s people to respond?  We remind each other:

  1. Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us.[i]

or that:

  1. God knows the plans he has for us, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope.[ii]                    

or that:

  1. God made the heavens and the earth by His great power, therefore nothing is too hard for Him.[iii]

All these things are true, helpful, and encouraging.  Yet, with all gentleness, I suggest that this type of counsel and advice is incomplete.  The full counsel of God requires more than a focus on the temporal, our present circumstances.  The Christian hope embraces eternity.

Read through the book of Job.  Stop and ponder chapter 19.  In his fear and desperation, Job states:

  1. God has closed His net around him (Job)[iv]
  2. Job’s relatives have failed him, his close friends have forgotten him[v]
  3. Job is a stranger to his wife, his own children reject him[vi]

Yet, it is in this very context of seeming despair that we read some of the most encouraging words in the Bible:

"Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! 24 Oh that with an

iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! 25 For I know that my Redeemer

lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus de-

stroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall

behold, and not another. My heart faints within me![vii]

Job’s hope did not lie in present deliverance, it lay in the resurrection!  The hope of the resurrection was the bedrock of his patient endurance. 

Is not the resurrection the reason that when a believer dies, we “do not grieve as others do who have no hope”?[viii]  Is it not what lies behind Paul’s words:  “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”?[ix]  It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that guarantees the resurrection of the believer.  He is the “first born among many brothers”.[x]  In His resurrection, Christ is the first-fruits.  His people will be raised at his coming.[xi]

On the LORD’s day, or the Sabbath the people of God were called to do two things:

  1. Remember that: “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.”[xii]
  2. Remember that we were slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.[xiii]

We are to remember God’s power as creator and as our deliverer.  The writer of Hebrews states:

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.[xiv]

We have been delivered.  Delivered from the fear of death that created slavery.  We are delivered from the fear because Christ, by His resurrection has defeated the devil and has guaranteed our subsequent resurrection.  On the LORD’s day we can sing in true fulfillment of Psalm 118:17:  “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.”

In a March 3, 2020 blog post, Marvin Olasky speaks of Martin Luther’s response to a plague in Germany.  Olasky cites Luther’s counsel to pastors, that they:

“must admonish people to attend church and listen to the sermon so that they learn through God’s word how to live and how to die.”[xv]

It is on the LORD’s day that we learn to live in hope and not in fear.  God is powerful.  He created all things.  More, God is powerful.  Through the work of Christ, he has defeated our greatest enemy:  death.  We have the sure hope of resurrection!  God’s promise of redemption is the “steadfast anchor of our soul”.  The resurrection is central to that promise.  The Love of God, found in the promise if the resurrection, casts out fear.[xvi]

Martin B. Blocki has served since 2003 as the Associate Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North Hills in Pittsburgh, PA since 2002. Rev. Blocki graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington (BME), Arizona State University (MM), and the Reformed Presbyterian Theological  Seminary (MDiv).  Martin and his wife, Kathy, have two married sons, one daughter, and four grandchildren.

[i] Hebrews 13:5

[ii] Jeremiah 29:11

[iii] Jeremiah 32:17

[iv] Job 19:6

[v] Job 19:14

[vi] Job 19:17-18

[vii] Job 19:24-27

[viii] 1 Thessalonians 5:13

[ix] Philippians 1:21

[x] Romans 8:29

[xi] 1 Corinthians 15:23

[xii] Exodus 20:11

[xiii] Deuteronomy 5:15

[xiv] Hebrews 2:14-15

[xvi] 1 John 4:18


Martin Blocki