J.J. Abrams is one of my favorite directors. Back in 1992, long before he directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one of Abrams’s screenplays was released as a movie called “Forever Young.” It starred Mel Gibson, who played a pilot named Daniel McCormick.
In the story, McCormick’s true love falls into a coma. Unable to deal with the traumatic circumstances, he decides to undergo a military experiment that will put him into suspended animation for a year. When things go awry while McCormick is under, he remains cryogenically frozen for over fifty years, after which his chamber is discovered and he awakens, un-aged and in search of his long lost love. Eventually, his search becomes intensified as his body starts to undergo rapid aging. It is a tremendous story that touches on so many universal themes: true love, grief, regret, mortality, and the desire for the everlasting. And deep down, this type of iconic story of love conquering all, even through time and death, resonates with us.
Now, “Forever Young” is listed in the genre of fantasy—a genre that many lump the Bible into—and as often or much as we long for eternity and true love, we don’t necessarily get to realize these things in our daily experience. But, Christians believe that true love and eternal life are real things that can be had. Why is that?
I would give two reasons:
1) We believe in the historical life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament Scriptures. Jesus talked about true justice, God’s love, and eternal life while on the earth. He proved victory over death through his own death and resurrection, and promised everlasting life as a gift.
Jesus is the living reality of the triumph of life and love over death.
2) We have had personal encounters with God through trusting Jesus, and have come to experience his love, forgiveness, and a vibrant relationship with him. The Scriptures declare this experience of God is just a taste of the fullness of life that is to come after death (see 1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Because we have tasted the evidence of his love, we believe in the promise of its complete fulfillment.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus says:
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)
Jesus leads the way as the one who put himself through death and came out victorious on the other side. Like McCormick in “Forever Young,” he pursues us as the object of his love. But, even more astounding, because Jesus lives forever, he is able to save and keep those who draw near to God through him (see Hebrews 7:25). Jesus, as the victorious Lover-King, invites us to share this hard-fought, victorious love and never-ending life with him. Let’s glorify him for this on Sunday as we sing Kari Jobe’s song “Forever.”
The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect Love could not be overcome
Now death, where is your sting?
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated
Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive! He is alive!