Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune? Well, this may be your lucky day!

Perhaps this is what you think about when you see something you cannot afford but would love to have; a new home, a smart car, or even a luxury holiday in the sun. But the odds against us ever winning big are high, and unless we have wealthy relatives who are close to death, the chances of our benefiting in this way, too, maybe equally slim. If we have ever entertained such thoughts, perhaps we should recognise them as mere ‘pipe dreams’ and get on with living our lives.

But having a future focus, a dream of what we would like to happen in times ahead, a plan that might take us from where we are to where we would like to be, is a good thing. It gives us hope and purpose. It gives meaning in the mundaneness of today as we look forward to better times tomorrow. And we need hope to live, as it has been wisely said that, to live without hope is to cease to live.

Yet having money alone is not the recipe for a fulfilled life. However, social or independent we might be, we all need people around us and an appreciation that our presence in this world matters, at least to one other person. We need to belong, as belonging gives us a sense of identity and worth. So we value our families, not just because of the bonds of love and affection between us, but also because they make us who we are. For the same reasons, we form friendships and associate with groups of people with whom we share something we cherish in common.

Now in ancient times, the Jewish people knew that they were the beneficiaries of an inheritance. They understood that the much-contested land of Israel had been given to them, through their ancestors and a promise by their God. Though as individuals, families, and communities their present-day realities were often ones of exile in a distant country or of occupation of their land by foreign forces, they held on to the hope of their inheritance and their identity as the chosen people of God.

Now, imagine for a moment, that as a gift you had been given a DNA test kit. You were perhaps a little uncertain about doing the test but in the end, you decided to send off your sample and wait and see what you might learn. But that was a while ago, so when the plain white envelope dropped through your door, you were unsure about what it might contain, another bill perhaps or a letter from the council. Imagine your surprise when reading the letter you discover that it is your DNA test results, and though you thought you knew who you were, you now discover that unknown to you, you belong to a large, well-known family, that owns much of the land around you, and that you have cousins, aunts, and uncles you never knew you had. And more than that, you are entitled to a share in the family’s fortune. Everything you thought you knew about who you were, has changed.

Well, maybe this just sounds like a fantasy to you, just like the idea of winning millions on the lottery. But this is the good news that the first Jewish followers of Jesus had to share with their non-Jewish neighbours. The unfathomable death and resurrection of one Jew changed everything. The beneficiaries of his death were not only the Jewish family and nation to which he belonged but now also included everyone who believed in him. The benefits, the inheritance that the Jews had enjoyed as descendants of Abraham were now available to people of all nations.

You see, we don’t gain an inheritance when we die ourselves, but when the one who is leaving it to us dies. Followers of Jesus received their inheritance when he died and rose again. Because that has already happened, it is not some future dream, it is a present reality. The apostle Paul, like the executor of a will, wrote to the community of non-Jewish believers in the ancient city of Ephesus to explain the awesome and inexplicable truth of the inheritance they had received from Jesus. We can still read this letter today, because their legacy can also be ours.

As adopted children of God, we, like them, are accepted by him to inherit the gift of his Spirit, to live in us. We inherit the forgiveness of our sins, redeemed by the blood Jesus shed when he died. We inherit the gift of wisdom to know God’s will, and we inherit the promise that in the fullness of time, we will stand before the face of Jesus, in holiness and love and with all other recipients of this inheritance, and be drawn together as one, for the praise of his glory. Now that is some inheritance!

Perhaps you will continue to dream of what you will do when your lottery numbers come up. Maybe you will carry on waiting in hope, that one day your relative’s money will be yours. What is certain, however, is there is a great inheritance available for you today.

Be encouraged.

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