I haven't been paying too much attention to all the media coverage of Michael Jackson's death, but I can't avoid it entirely. What a worldwide spectacle. We have some friends who are missionaries in Pakistan who were over for a visit a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about perceptions of American culture over there. They said that most people in their area wouldn't know who Oprah is, but they know about Michael Jackson.
I looked at a tribute gallery via Tim Challies blog a few minutes ago and I noticed that in the worldwide tributes, the word "forever" featured prominently (in English, all over the world).
I preached a message yesterday on 2 Samuel 7 - a key covenant passage in the Old Testament. The world forever features prominently in that passage, too. God promised David an everlasting kingdom. The heart of this promise is picked up in many places in the rest of the Bible - this was a very significant promise.
One connection that I saw (thanks to the index in Carson and Beale's most useful Commentary on The New Testament Use of the Old Testament) was in John 12:32-34. The people were puzzled by Jesus' statement that he would be "lifted up." They knew that meant death, but Messiah was to "remain forever." How could these facts be reconciled?
Fast forward to Apostolic preaching: The resurrection explains everything! Without Christ's bodily resurrection on the third day, not only the Apostles' witness and the faith of all Christians disintegrates (1 Corinthians 15), the Old Testament expectations and promises evaporate as well.
It is sad to see people put their hopes in flawed heroes and their fleeting fame. The gospel is the sure hope of God's people in the solid rock of Jesus Christ - His eternal nature as God the Son, His sinless life as the Ultimate Promise Keeper, His death for sinners on the cross and His glorious, life-giving resurrection - the promise of a future resurrection and a forever body for all who believe.
P.S. Due to a technical problem, the message from yesterday was not recorded. I uploaded another message from last Fall - it was November 16th, I believe. It on Philippians 3 and it may be found under General Messages through the link at the top of this blog, or find it here.