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Easter’s promise: Jesus is our foundation for hope and a future

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One of the most riveting figures in all of Scripture, the suffering righteous man, Job, asked the ultimate question — “If a man dies will he live again?”  (Job 14:14). 

This comes from what scholars believe is one of the oldest parts of one of the world’s oldest books, the Bible.  Centuries of time and vast cultural differences fail to overshadow the commonalities shared by all human beings: We are more alike than different. We all want to know, “What happens after I die? Where have my loved ones gone? Is heaven real?”

People everywhere are grappling with these and other spiritual questions. Over three decades of travel throughout the world and having had countless conversations with people of every conceivable background, I am convinced that people everywhere are thinking about God. Oddly, some who seem to think about God constantly — obsessively almost — are people with whom I correspond who claim to be atheists. People want to know about the “non-physical” side of their existence.

The Bible (that book that so vividly lays bare facts about the nature of people) says that “God has put eternity in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). People wonder what they can know about God. What may we really know about the afterlife, if there even is one? It is only natural that we ponder . . . the supernatural.

Will I see Grandma again? Will I know my loved ones in heaven?

Even children often seem intuitively to know that God and the soul are real. “I believe in God,” my (then) five-year-old nephew Max once said. We were taking a family hike in the woods on a Sunday afternoon. “Why do you believe in God?” I asked. Gesturing to the trees and hills all around us, the pre-first grader reasoned, “All this stuff had to come from somewhere.”

Perfectly logical. No one in our family had explained the cosmological argument for God’s existence to Max.  But just like people in developed and undeveloped nations I have interviewed around the world, we seem to know that creation must have had a Creator.

Faith in God and trust in Him is the “default” position of the human psyche. Common also to the human heart is an innate, intuitive awareness that our deceased loved ones, though passed away, are not gone from us forever.    

“I miss Grandma, but she’s gone live with God,” a child calmly said as I was counseling a young family.  Appearing nervous that the conversation was moving toward some emotionally raw areas, the mom stammered, “We’re all coping the best way we can.” With impressive confidence, the son (about seven years old) said, “I believe she is in heaven with Jesus.”   

Growing amounts of evidence from medical science — near-death experiences, or NDEs — provide compelling indications that the soul survives death. Both artfully and scientifically, the 2023 film Near Death lays out evidence that the soul survives physical death. This, the most successful theatrically released documentary of all time, interviews doctors, theologians, and people who were documented to have survived clinical death.

These days the Western world may govern itself and behave as if God, the soul, and eternity aren’t real, but the evidence says otherwise. Deep inside, I am convinced that people know it. And so, this brings us to Easter — and what we may know with certainty about the state of the soul.   


Our authoritative Guide to “the other side”   

A 2023 study by the CDC says that roughly half of all teens feel, “depressed and/or hopeless” about their lives and the future. Young females trend worse than the guys, with some 57% percent feeling this way. 

How sad that youth (once a time of life when people might have been faulted for too much optimism) seems increasingly characterized by debilitating pessimism. Gripping hopelessness and futility — desperation, even — isn’t inflicting just adolescents: Countless grown-ups feel it, too.  This is why knowledge of the reality of Jesus Christ is so urgently needed. Jesus — Who heals broken lives, loves unconditionally, and who Himself, beat death and the grave — offers new life and hope to every human being.  Jesus’ physical, literal, resurrection from the grave is one of the most documentable realities of the ancient world (Regarding the historical proof of Christ’s life and resurrection, I refer you to the acclaimed research of my friends and colleagues of 25 years, Gary R. Habermas and Michael Licona).       

Do you feel that your life has no value or purpose? Jesus Christ did all that He did because you absolutely are a person of worth. The man who proved Himself to be God incarnate sees you of inestimable value!

Do you feel insecure about what tomorrow may hold, and do you wish there were some definite plans for the future? Jesus is the One who promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God has the roadmap for your life, and He is eager to bless your journey (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Do you worry about death and want to make sure that you’re square with God Almighty? Jesus (who, quite literally, is as close by as a prayer) says that in believing in Him, you are set right with God and will be in heaven (John 6:40). 

Do regrets gnaw at you, and do you beat yourself up for past things you’d like to forget? Easter reminds us that all guilt and punishment for sins was put on Jesus. On the cross, He truly did die for us all. In putting our faith in Jesus, anyone and everyone can begin a new life with a clean conscience. Jesus gives not only peace with God, but the elusive peace with ourselves (John 14:27). 

Why trust all that Jesus says about God, the soul, and the afterlife? Because only Jesus was able to enter the realm of death and — under His own power — emerge from the grave, tangibly alive (Luke 24:39).

The Lord of Life conquered the realm of death. In a relationship with Jesus, you will, too.

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!

The Bible says that Jesus welcomes any who will turn to Him (John 6:37).

The Bible says that Jesus can grant the most desired of things . . . everlasting life.

Heaven. Bliss. Purpose. Eternity. Those things that dying humans have cried out for…that thing the poets and writers have created songs and stories about…that thing that pagan societies ignorantly created myths over, not even realizing they were acting on God-ordained desires buried deeply within their human souls . . . salvation. These are all found in Jesus.

To all who will simply put their trust in Him, Jesus lovingly grants . . . eternal life (John 3:16). This message is called “Gospel” for good reason; it truly is good news (Matthew 11:28).

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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