Resurrection on the Other Side of Suffering

In the passage we looked at in the sermon last Sunday and in the devotions on Monday, Jesus closes out his insistence on the reality of suffering with hope. He gets to the resurrection, finally, at the end. He says, “… and on the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18:33).

We never face suffering just so we can suffer. We face it so that we can stop living in denial, so we can be present to others, and so that we can find God in the pain somewhere. Suffering is not an uncommon part of life in the kingdom of God - but it’s not the final part. Our friend Rachel Held Evans, who just died six days ago, reminds us anew of the reality of both suffering and resurrection, and how both are bound up in this incredible Kingdom that we get to be a part of. So ponder her words today and give thanks and pray.

In contrast to every other kingdom that has been and ever will be, this kingdom belongs to the poor, Jesus said, and to the peacemakers, the merciful, and those who hunger and thirst for God. In this kingdom, the people from the margins and the bottom rungs will be lifted up to places of honor, seated at the best spots at the table. This kingdom knows no geographic boundaries, no political parties, no single language or culture. It advances not through power and might, but through acts of love and joy and peace, missions of mercy and kindness and humility. This kingdom has arrived, not with a trumpet’s sound but with a baby’s cries, not with the vanquishing of enemies but with the forgiving of them, not on the back of a warhorse but on the back of a donkey, not with triumph and a conquest but with a death and a resurrection.

- Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church