Ever wonder what it would be like to come back from death? To tell us what heaven is like? If such a place exists, how would you describe it? Would you say it was filled with indescribable love, beauty, and happiness?
There was a man standing on a beach 2,000 years ago, near a sea called Tiberius. In the early morning light he saw men in the distance, rowing toward shore. They had spent the night fishing.
He yelled out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” They answered no. He told them to throw their net out once again, this time on the right side of the boat. With nothing to lose they tried, and they were unable to haul the net in because of all the fish they caught.
Meanwhile, on the shore, there was a fire of burning coals with fish on it and some bread too. He had made them breakfast.
In the millennia since, most of us have lived our lives struggling. We know something’s not quite right, but we can’t put our finger on it. If, by chance, we consider religion, and even Christianity, we dismiss it. For some, religion only seems to scratch the surface. Why?
There is someone who came from heaven. He was seen, touched and heard by people just like you and me. He spoke of incredible things: darkness/light, mourning/comfort, poverty/riches, death and life. He spent a lot of his time with the outcasts of society and was considered a glutton and drunkard for his seeming refusal to turn down parties with “sinners.” He saved his most vitriolic judgments for the religious leaders of his day, accusing them of putting on a show while hating God in their hearts. He also wept over the city in which he would die, lamenting the refusal of those who lived there to seek him, and in so doing, save themselves from spiritual death.
It was after his own death that he appeared on the beach, making breakfast for his friends. One of the fishermen, an impulsive and head-strong man who had spectacularly betrayed the man on shore at his moment of greatest need jumped out of the boat and swam to greet him. Soon the rest joined.
There is a heaven awaiting you. It has always been wonderful, with incredible communication, light, joy, and fulfilling work. The man on the shore spoke of it while he walked among us. We do not see it because we are on this side of eternity. We may have even betrayed this man in our own ways. Rembrandt placed his portrait on the face of one of those raising the cross of Christ. Mel Gibson placed the hammer in his hand as it struck the nail that tore through Jesus’ skin, muscle, bone, flesh. Yes, not only time, but an impassable chasm of our own sin separates us from the Father who loves us.
That’s why Jesus came. He is the one who perfectly loved and obeyed his father and then offered it all to the father as a substitute for us. He took our sin upon himself and, as a result, was pierced, punished, and crushed on our behalf. This Jesus, the man on the shore, calls to you now. Go to him. He has prepared wonderful things for you, and he is ready to forgive.
If this has interested you at all, follow it up. Find a Bible and read the gospel of John. It’s the fourth book of the Christian New Testament. Then, find a church that joyfully confesses that Jesus was both God and man, that he lived a prefect substitutionary life for you, that God raised him from the dead, and that he rules now and forever. As you’re checking out churches make sure they believe the Bible is completely true. There’s a lot of game-playing out there. Be careful, and pray. Eventually you’ll find that the God you thought you were seeking all along has actually been calling you.