When I was a young man I remember feeling like I never won anything. For example, when I was in high school, I went with some friends to the state fair and we were waiting in line for one of the rides. One of my friends who was standing behind me looked on the ground where I had just been standing, and found some money lying there. Why hadn’t I seen that?
Can you imagine if you won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes and won a million dollars? That could change your life. I just looked at the odds of winning the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, and they are 1 in 3,478,000,000. That’s right, about 1 in almost 3 ½ billion. That’s 1 chance in more than 10 times the population of the United States. I don’t think I’m going to win. If I did win, it would seem to good to be true!
That was the reaction of the disciples on the day Jesus was raised from the dead, seen in Luke 24:1-12. When the women came from the empty tomb, reporting that Jesus had been raised from the dead, the disciples did not believe them. To the disciples, the talk of the women about resurrection was nonsense.
Why? Because to them it seemed too good to be true. They had betrayed Jesus as they ran away in fear as when he was arrested. At least one of them, John, had been at the cross of Jesus and had seen Jesus die. Hope was gone. Failure was theirs. Death was the winner.
So you can imagine it was hard to believe that Jesus was alive. You can understand why the disciples didn’t believe the women. It was too good to be true. What were the odds of them being on the winning side this time?
But it was true then, and it is true now. Jesus the Christ is alive. He was raised from the dead, victorious over Satan and death. Our sin is paid for. What seemed too good to be true, actually is true. So what does this mean?
It means that in this world of terror, shootings, fear, and death, Jesus brings hope, peace, courage, and life. It means that your failures aren’t the last word on your life, that there is hope for a new you now and a perfect you in eternity. It means that instead of a life focused on getting as much as we can for ourselves, Jesus calls us to a life of service, compassion, and mercy.
And it means that when you face your death, your Savior will be with you to take you to himself and give you eternal life. For He is preparing for another day of resurrection. Not his. Yours. A day is coming when what Jesus did will be reenacted for all of His people. Graves will be opened, the dead shall rise, and all of God’s people will be united with Him in an eternity of life.
It seems too good to be true, yet it is true. In Christ, you win, now and forever.