“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:23-27
Have you ever thought about what words you would like to have inscribed on your tombstone? It may sound kind of morbid to speak about epitaphs on Easter Sunday but, in light of Jesus’ resurrection on the third day, it’s not morbid but a message of hope.
Whether or not it will happen, I don’t know, but I’ve always thought it would be nice to have these words from Job 19:25-27 etched into my headstone: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
Why, because death is not the end! You and I have hope! Because of the events of that first resurrection Sunday, we can be assured that we too will be raised up.
It is as St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:23). Or consider Peter’s words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).
Because Jesus did not stay in the tomb, because He rose from the dead on the third day, after suffering and dying on the cross to pay the just punishment for the sins of the world, because the tomb was empty when the women arrived to anoint the body of Jesus, because He appeared to the women, to Peter, to two on the road to Emmaus, to the eleven in the upper room and even to more than 500 people at one time – most of whom were still alive at the time of Paul’s writing (cf. 1 Cor. 15; Mark 16) – we have hope and the certainty of our resurrection on the Last Day.
Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19). Those words would mean little if Jesus did not rise from the dead. If Jesus did not rise bodily from the grave on the third day, we would still be dead in our sins and without hope (cf. 1 Cor. 15:17ff.). “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). Jesus was “delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25). He paid in full for our sins and was raised up, showing that we are indeed justified and forgiven through faith in Him and that we too will be raised up on the Last Day when Christ Jesus returns!
Therefore, we can say with Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Though we die and decay in the grave, our risen Savior will raise up our bodies and we will see Him who died for our sins and rose again to give us life everlasting! Cf. 1 Thess. 4:13ff.; Psalm 16:11.
“I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort this sweet sentence gives….”
O my risen Savior, grant that I live and die in the confidence which Your resurrection gives, and raise me up on the Last Day to the eternal joys of Your kingdom. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]