The Fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 just went by recently. There were the usual ceremonies of remembrance and moments of silence. For those who lost loved ones and friends, fifteen years doesn’t seem that long ago. For those of us who were far removed from that tragedy, it’s a quiet reminder of a sad historical event but not one we tend to think about constantly.
I was in college at the time when those terrorists flew the planes into the World Trade Center buildings. In fact, I was getting ready for class that morning when I turned on the news and saw what was happening. I even ran into the other room to get Keri, who was then my fiance’, so I could show her too. We were actually watching the news when the plane hit the second tower and I thought, “Is this really happening right now?” Keri and I couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It was such a far-fetched event that you couldn’t prepare for it.
As the events of that day continued to play out and word spread of other hijacked planes and ties to terrorism, people around the nation, myself included, were forced to face the grim reality of what had happened. Terrorism would now be a very real threat in our world and many people would forever grieve the loss of their family and friends.
In the same way, the resurrection of Jesus took everyone by surprise, even those followers who were closest to him. In the days leading up to his crucifixion when Jesus spoke of what was to become of him, his disciples were still caught off guard by his appearance after his death. It was an event that was truly unbelievable but it happened nonetheless and our reaction to it will determine our destiny for eternity. Like the tragic circumstances of 9/11, we can push the truth out of our minds and pretend they never happened, or we can, through faith, trust in the hope we receive when we believe and show obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must take a stand on that gospel because we stake everything we do on it (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
It is this resurrection that we must put our hope in, for without it, our belief is pointless. “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17).
So there are only two options. We can believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 3:17), that he walked this earth as a man but was wholly God (John 8:58), that he gave his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (Hebrews 9:28), that he died and was resurrected on the third day (Matthew 27:32-50, 28:1-10), and that he will come again to take us home to heaven (Philippians 3:20). Or, we can scoff at the idea that there is a God or only half-heartedly believe and fail to surrender to him.
Either way, make sure that you are prepared. For the day is coming when we will see him again. Believe it or not!