Greetings to all of you, our Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
The intellectual and political legacy of Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, means a great deal to Pennsylvanians. His spiritual legacy, on the other hand, is muddy. Raised by a strict, Puritan family, he eventually distanced himself from traditional, orthodox belief and embraced Deism. He believed in a higher power, but one little resembling the personal, Triune God worshipped by Christians. Still, as a younger man he appeared to have some remnant of Christian belief. We have record of an epitaph he wrote for himself. It is clever and humorous, but he never truly meant it to be used. The words he wrote were:
The Body of B. Franklin, Printer. Like the Cover of an old Book, Its contents torn out, and Stript of its Lettering & Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost, For it will as he believ’d, appear once more In a new and more elegant Edition corrected and improved by the Author.
Those words definitely bear the signature of Franklin’s unique wit. Yet they trouble the heart with melancholy, for we wonder whether he ever turned to Christ in his waning years. With God, all things are possible, as Scripture tells us. We rejoice in that promise right now, as the anticipation builds toward our celebration of Resurrection Day. Our own hope of resurrection rests in Jesus, the Son of God, who demonstrated His mastery over every enemy which holds us captive: sin, demonic oppression, sickness, physical defects, and even death itself. Our family devotions recently included John 11, in which Lazarus was freed from the grave after four days, and multiple witnesses (including Lazarus himself) testified to Christ’s power over death. What other sign could we need that Jesus did have power over death—even over His own? On the third day, He did walk free from that tomb, gloriously, eternally alive, and brought us the hope that “He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
If your hope is in Jesus, REJOICE this Easter and always! Because God’s work in you will NOT be lost. Even your body, which faces the ravages of mortality, will appear in a new and more elegant Edition, improved, GLORIFIED, and made ETERNAL by the Author. CHRIST IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH!
Your Brother and Servant,
Pastor Scott Jones