Back to the Future
Luke 20:27-38

I’d like you to think back to when you were a kid, did you ever find yourself dreaming about the future, maybe imagining what you would do for a living, or having a flying car, or some kind of boat, maybe who you would marry or what your kids would look like, were you that person?  Have you thought along similar lines later in life?  Wished you could see into the future and see what is in store for you and your family.  Maybe you’ve wanted to know next weeks Tattslotto numbers to make a few easy dollars?  We often think about the what-ifs of life don’t we, but what about the ‘final’ future, do you think about life after death, is that something you avoid thinking about or is it an issue that you deal with on a regular basis?

I want to show you a short trailer from a 1980’s movie, in fact a trilogy of movies, that dealt with issues of the future, the past, human mortality and having control over the events in our lives.  Yes that’s right, we’re going to see a glimpse of “Back to the Future.”  View trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRrSp6Pqlz4

This movie was around when I was a teenager, it made us all want hover boards, flying cars, Nike basketball shoes that automatically tightened themselves, and of course we all wanted a Delorean time machine complete with flux capacitor for our first cars.  In fact I even got excited when I saw a Delorean on Yarra Road a couple of months back.  When we think about the future we tend to imagine all of the awesome things we could have if only they were invented and affordable.

Some of us may have even imagined what it would be like to take some of our current technology back into the past and amaze people with it.  The thought of this kind of adventure excites us doesn’t it?  But if you remember various parts of the trilogy were focussed around the issues of knowing what the future held.  This could have disastrous consequences, it could disturb the space/time continuum! 

Imagine the turmoil if everyone who was going to fly on the planes that have had engine failures in the last few days knew that the engines were going to fail.  The airline wouldn’t believe them, there would be chaos in the airports and yet no-one in those two instances were injured.  What about the passengers who all died on the flight in Cuba this week, if they could have predicted the future they wouldn’t have boarded the flight.  No-one yet knows why the crash occurred or the circumstances surrounding it, and it would be foolish to try and lay blame on God for an accident like that but some people probably will.

Life doesn’t always go the way we planned it, and when it doesn’t we always want to try and find someone to blame.  Mistakes can and will be made.  Sometimes those mistakes cause the deaths of other people.  Sometimes deliberately but often they would be avoided if at all possible.

In life there are times that things go well for us and not for others and then the tables seem to turn and life is tough for us and seems easy for others.  Often there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the way things are playing out, we ask the tough questions of God and others around us, but all too often the answers don’t come, there may not be any at the moment.  You don’t have to look very far to find people who are facing some kind of struggle in their lives that doesn’t seem or sound fair.  We are all on a journey from the cradle to the grave, we will all have our share of ups and downs in that journey we call life, and we will all have questions along the way that we want answers to.

It would be easy to try condemn the Sadducees who asked the questions of Jesus about what happens with those who have been married several times in accordance with the law of the time.  They were trying to prove him wrong and themselves right, they were using legitimate Scriptural precedent that they fully believed in to try and trap him.  Jesus was preaching resurrection after death and in the first five books of the Bible that they solely drew from there was no mention of such a thing.  Their thinking was of course too narrow, but it is what they believed.  They were equating the future with what their current life and culture described. 

Jesus was rewriting history though, he was going to change the space/time continuum.  He was about to give them proof, from their own Scripture that should convince them.  When we look at it now the evidence seems a little flimsy though.  Jesus told them that resurrection was proved when Moses in the story of the burning bush spoke of the Lord as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Lord didn’t say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but that he IS the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It’s a subtle point but a valid one, God doesn’t refer to them in the past tense but the present, therefore to God they are alive!

The Sadducees got the point, it was enough for them, and they weren’t game to ask him any more questions after that.  We’ve never stopped trying to get our questions answered though have we?  We’d all love to know more about what heaven looks like, whether or not we will recognise each other in heaven, what we will wear or what we will be doing there.  Scripture gives us a few clues about constant singing and worshiping God.  For many of us that doesn’t actually sound like much fun. 

If you endure worship on Sunday out of shear duty and desire to worship God but you’re glad when the hour is over and you can go home, you’re probably not looking forward to doing it for all eternity are you?  Things will be different in heaven though, we know that for sure, we’re just not certain of the exact details.  What we do know though is that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, there will be no more death or mourning or crying, that is something to look forward to!

In the meantime I encourage you just as Paul encouraged the Thessalonians, not to be shaken or alarmed, the day of Jesus return will come, but we don’t know when.  We can’t see the future and we should probably be thankful for that, but we have nothing to fear, God has promised to be with us, through his Son and the Holy Spirit to the very end of the age.

Seek out the glimpses of heaven in Scripture, seek out others whose future would be otherwise without Christ and sow the seed of the gospel into their lives through word and actions.  Don’t look for earthly treasures and gadgets, but seek the Lord and his will for your life.

And if life just seems to be piling up on you, look with hope to the future with Christ in heaven.  Live in the hope of the resurrection that is promised to the children of God.  Remember Job, who was going through some of the toughest trials and struggles any human being has ever been subjected to, this is one of his responses and it would be a great response for all of us to carry with us:

Job 19
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

May your heart yearn within you as you await the coming again of our Lord.  We don’t need a Delorean time machine to see the past or the future, we have them written down for us in the Holy Bible. Take a look for yourself!   Amen.