There are not many stories that end like that, because whatever comes after an ending like that couldn’t possibly be that great.
After “The End,” all you get to see is a long list of names that were involved in the making of the story that is tragically over.
The hero died, so what is the point in staying? Why hope anymore?
Well, if you wait long enough, you might get to see the best part; the sneak peek that renews your hope and keeps you hoping for more. But most people don’t like to wait through three minutes of credits, much less three days of credits.
When Jesus died, that was the story. He died… But that wasn’t the end.
Maybe you don’t know this part. Maybe you left the theater or the church before the sneak peek. You thought that was the end, but if you didn’t stay for the credits, then you have no idea what actually ended.
Oh, you thought that was the end of Jesus?
That was the end of self, or, more specifically, the end of the reign of sin and death in the hearts and lives of all humankind. In the moment when Jesus said, It is finished, He wasn’t talking about His story or yours; He was talking about sin, about that part of the work He was sent to accomplish.
Let me tell you a spoiler for the rest of the story that you walked out on. The credits rolled for three days, and after all hope was lost, Jesus came back into the picture; bigger, brighter, and more real than ever.
Walls cannot hold Him. Distance and time are reduced to His will. He has no limits.
I write in the present-tense, because you are about to read the best part; the story is still not over.
Jesus Christ, the hero of the world, arose from the dead! He walked, talked, and ate with His disciples, and then He ascended into Heaven. And He left His followers a Comforter, His Holy Spirit. He also left the written manifestation of Himself, The Holy Bible.
Jesus reigns in all those who seek Him and follow Him. He is not dead. He is not gone. His story is not over.
His disciples could have run away after His death. They could have retreated far away, or taken their own lives out of despair. One of them did take his own life, having been the one who betrayed Jesus. But the remaining eleven disciples, for some reason, decided to stay. They were there when the credits finally ended. But they were not the first ones to find out that Jesus rose from the dead.
A group of women went to Jesus’ tomb on the third day after His burial. They brought spices to anoint His body before He would begin to stink. But when they came to the tomb, they found the stone had been rolled away, and then two men suddenly appeared among them and said, Why seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen. Remember how He spoke to you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again?” (Luke 24:5-7)
Jesus, the hero, knew all along what would happen to Him and He even told those who loved Him, but they weren’t listening.
Are you listening now?
Even if you were not the first to the tomb or the first to believe, yet it is for every soul that Jesus paid the highest price.
While Jesus walked among us, He said, Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst, for the water I give him will be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14)
Death doesn’t have to be the end for you. Sorrow does not have to be the echo of your story.
When Jesus knew He was going to die, and the one who would betray Him left to do the bidding of Satan, Jesus arose from the table where He was eating supper with His disciples. He then laid aside His clean garments and put on servants’ clothes so that He might wash His disciple’s feet. He went from one set of dirty feet to another; making them clean. When He came to Peter, Peter said to Him, Lord, do You wash my feet? Jesus told Him that what He did then, Peter would not yet understand, but he would know better thereafter. (John 13:1-8)
In the first verse of that passage, God said that Jesus loved them unto the end. But now that you know what the end actually meant, I want you to understand that He still loves them. He still loves you. He still washes dirty feet and calls the feet-made-beautiful to walk for the glory of His name.
Surely, it is not the end of His story.
However, it is nearing the end of your story. You are lost and dying and Jesus has been patient. But you must decide before “The End” how your life will look after the credits roll.
Will those who wait get to see you standing before Jesus; rejoicing in His holiness? Or will those who wait find that you are not rejoicing at all, but so distant as to not be touched even by a drop of cool water, though you should long for it all the day long?
I pray that you choose to change the end of your story today, for you are not guaranteed tomorrow, but you are guaranteed that the end is not as final as it seems.