Recently my boys threw a barrage of questions my way about death. FUN! They were most interested in what happens to people’s bodies after they are buried. Are they dust? Are they wrinkled? Do they stink? Oh…the conversations you have with little boys in the house!
Honestly, I'm not sure we talk about death enough. Not in a morbid way, but in a way that helps us grasp the fleetingness of this life. Even the greatest man that ever lived died. We talk about it a lot in Christian circles. We dedicate an entire liturgical season to this biblical account. It is a glorious truth, that Jesus died a death we deserve so that we do not have to suffer the consequences for our sin. Namely, death and eternal punishment.
What is even more glorious than that is, Jesus didn’t stay dead. He ROSE on the third day. The fact Christians still lay claim to this miracle shows that the scandal of His resurrection could not be squelched. Though there were many attempts by opposing religious and political parties to destroy this news, it couldn’t be done. Why? Too many people had seen the miracles of Jesus, had seen his death, and the empty tomb. The Bible records 11 appearances of Jesus after he rose from the dead.
Our faith is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus. If Christ didn’t die, we would still be held accountable for our sin. If he wasn't raised from the dead, we would have a God who is not able to defeat death. Yet, it can be easy to dismiss this miracle that happened almost 2000 years ago, because we are so far removed from it.
Newsflash: The resurrection affects all of us today! Because of it, we do not need to fear death. I know many of us do though. When we experience the death of someone close to us, we are faced with our own mortality.
Six years ago, my older brother suddenly passed away. Questions over why he died and the circumstances surrounding it were tough. Heartbreaking. But the one thing I wrestled with more than anything was the reality of the afterlife. Someone so tangible was no longer here. I remember vividly turning the corner of the funeral home and seeing his body laying there. It was then I heard God say “I've got him.” All my fear suddenly vanished.
Why do we not need to fear? Because death is not the end. Death has no hold over us. Death is merely a gateway for us to pass fully into the presence of our God, without the body of flesh that is steeped in sin. We shed our former self, which is even now fading away. We can experience fullness of joy, peace, love and communion with our maker and King! What we can only see in part now, will be a grander picture than we could ever imagine (1 Cor 13:12).
God's Everlasting Love
Romans 8 : 31-39, ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.