Friday afternoon I went to see a movie. The movie Heaven is for Real was timed by Hollywood to open the week of Easter, no doubt to attract a large Christian audience. After all, we are the ones who talk about life after death…and heaven. What better way to draw us to the cinema than to have a Hollywood-produced movie about heaven with real high profile actors like Greg Kinnear?
I was disappointed. Not in Hollywood, of course (promoting truth is not what they're there for), but in the way in which this movie has been embraced. The message of the movie - which was obviously aimed to appeal to Christians - fell soooooooooooo far short of the good news of Easter morning. I don't know exactly what the little boy portrayed in the movie saw, or how it happened. But I do know that it was not the gospel of eternal life that our King Jesus brings us. Every person in Scripture who got a glimpse of heaven was overwhelmed with the glorious presence of God. Isaiah. Ezekiel. Paul. John. They all were so captivated by the glory of the Lord that they fell on their faces, unworthy. None took a casual stroll through heaven, sitting on Jesus' lap and visiting with loved ones. When you come into the presence of the Almighty, he will have your full attention.
This morning we celebrate the Resurrection. Jesus defeated sin and death on the cross, and then his victory was sealed when he rose from the dead on the third day. Today is a day to have a party…so I'm going to! Worship at sunrise and later in the morning, lunch with family, and then a huge celebration with family and friends. Jesus has defeated death, and so our destiny is not some vague hope in a heaven that people with near-death experiences may or may not have seen. He is, as he said, the resurrection and the life. No, the Messiah will descend from heaven, do away with all the corruption of the present world, unite heaven and earth, and we will rise to be with him forever. He rose, the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18), so that we can follow him in resurrection.
That's something to celebrate!