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The following is a transcript of an interview conducted with Pastor John Piper that was posted to desiringGod.org in April 2013.
INTERVIEWER: On Easter Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. He’s the victor; he has defeated sin, Satan and death itself. It’s one of the sweetest weekends of the year for the church. And then Monday morning hits, and many of us will return to work. The reality of sin, Satan and death greet us in the morning. How do we live out the victory of Easter Sunday on Monday?
PIPER: I had the reverse of your question ringing in my ears. We know it as the familiar line from Good Friday sermons: “It is Friday, but Sunday is coming.” And now you are asking me the question: “It is Sunday, but how do live knowing Monday is coming?”
We need both of those theologies, don’t we? We need the theology to get us from Friday to Sunday, but we also need, in this age, the theology that helps us realize Mondays follow our Sundays.
When the Alarm Sounds
Here is what I find the most helpful: We need a clear, biblical picture of what this age is like and the expectations we can have as redeemed children of God. Here are a couple passages with the word groaning that I had not seen until recently.
2 Corinthians 5:4–5 says, “For while we are still in this tent,” — meaning these fallen bodies that are prone to get sore throats and pneumonia and cancer and wounds — “we groan.” Paul continues, “We groan … not that we would be unclothed,” — in other words, nobody wants to be bodiless — “but that we would be further clothed.” This is, super-clothed, over-clothed, and “swallowed up by life.”
Then he says, “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” You could translate the last word as guarantee, but the literal word is down payment. That is really important. I have a down payment. This is like a double-edged sword. It means only a down payment, and it means really a down payment. The only means “I am not all the way redeemed yet.”
This leads me over to Romans 8:23. It says, “Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits.” Now that is the same as guarantee or down payment. That is, not the whole harvest, just the firstfruits of the Spirit. And we groan inwardly for this.
So over in 2 Corinthians 5:4–5, we are groaning, in this tent, but we have a down payment of the Holy Spirit. And in Romans 8:23–25, we are groaning inwardly although we have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
This picture of the era we live in is the painful reality of the already down payment and the not yet of the full harvest or the full payment. Getting that straight is essential. The Monday mornings after the Easter highs are to be expected. This is the way God has set it up — we groan while here.
Overcoming Monday Morning Blues
So here is my strategy for Monday morning:
First, don’t forget Good Friday after Easter. As you wake up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday — whether you feel it or not, and whether the evidences around you convinces you of it or not — fix your heart on the fact that the cross means I am loved. Easter means love is victorious, and he will not stop loving you because the highest cost has been paid to obtain you for himself.
Second, he really is with you on Monday. Whether you feel it or not, he said in Matthew 28:20, “I will be with you to the end of the age.” Whether you are high or low, believe that. He is with you because he is risen from the dead.
He is alive to help you in whatever situation you are in.
One last thing — and it takes us back to where we started with “Sunday is coming” — savor the final great revelation of what happened.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:11–12).
I think we should often think about our rewards. That is, think about the resurrection. Think about the fact that I am going to get a new body someday. I won’t sin anymore someday. I won’t have any more pain and depression someday. He really is coming. He really will be everything to me someday.
And Jesus says if that is real to you, you will be able to rejoice right in the middle of the Monday morning affliction.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including “Reading the Bible Supernaturally.”
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