When your daughters approach you with puppy-dog eyes and beg you to make a house for Oreo, their pet rabbit, what do you do? You build it!
Two things I love: my girls, and doing manly stuff. So when they interlaced their fingers and asked, “Please, daddy”, my soul danced.
For my daughters, a flimsy house wouldn’t suffice, so I built a MANSION. After I drew the blueprint on a Chik-fil-A napkin, I gathered the supplies: Nails? Check. Plywood? Check. Ice-cold Michelob Ultra? Check. (Don’t judge. I’m trying to avoid the “dad bod.”) The next day, sawdust flew as Alan Jackson sang Don’t Rock the Jukebox. Two splinters and one achy back later, I shouted, “It is finished!”
The most memorable part of the build was the final nail. When I drove it in, a Person pierced my mind—Jesus, the most well-known Carpenter to ever swing the hammer.
THE CARPENTER’S PROMISE
If you only think of Him as “baby Jesus,” think again. For two decades, he cut wood without a circular saw. He had calloused hands, dirty nails, and a steel spine. Not only did He carry heavy cross-beams, but He also made heavy promises, and perhaps none weightier than this one:
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
This promise has layers of meaning, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll only highlight one layer. By “Church,” He wasn’t referring to a brick-and-mortar building, but a collection of believers, also known as His BODY. Second, to Whom does the Church belong? Christ. And Who will build it? Christ. His Body started with twelve Disciples, and now, 2.3 BILLION people make up His Church. That’s major construction, my friends! No organization has stood the test of time longer than His Church; He’s held His Body together for 2,000 years. (The United States is still in diapers compared to it.) That’s because His Church stands on a rock-solid foundation. If you ask me, sounds like Jesus is making good on His promise.
“AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL”
Ancient cities were only as strong as their gates, so gates became a symbol of strength and power. Second, the Greek word for Hell (in this verse) is Hades, which means the “realm of the dead.” In short, Hades is death itself. So what Jesus promised was the “power of death” will not prevail against His Body (Romans 8:11).
Before Jesus’ crucifixion, the devil held the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). But because the grave couldn’t keep its grip on Christ, Jesus snatched the keys from the devil’s clutch (Revelation 1:18). The Carpenter Who drove nails for twenty years, Who felt nails pierce His calloused hands, feels Hades’ keys in them now! And there’s coming a day when He will unlock those ancient gates and declare, “Let My people go!” Because Christ’s body rose, His Body will rise.
“A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28-29 NIV)
You’re NOT a “moist robot” waiting to become compost. The grave is not your final destination. Your body is like a “seed” that must be planted. “For you were made from dust, and to dust, you will return” (Genesis 3:19), but you will not remain in the dirt. Like a planted wheat kernel, you will rise (Romans 8:11, John 5:28-29, John 6:39, Daniel 12:2, Job 19:25-27). Before you’re sown, however, put your trust in Christ. Join His Body. The promise-keeping Carpenter is your only Hope.
Written by Logan Stogner, 2022 copyright
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