On this point, we can all agree! Every one of us hates (and yes, I intentionally chose this strong word) the same thing. And so does God. It’s inevitable. No human can defeat it. Solomon said that it “is the destiny of every man.” So most of the time we respond by doing the only thing we can do. We turn our heads and refuse to think about it…until we must. Our nemesis…Death.
Modern day advances have certainly not helped us. We have hospitals where we can send our sick and we have homes where we can send our elderly. In many ways, we try to shelter ourselves; yet the reality of death hits every one of us in the gut when a precious loved one dies.
In Jesus time, people encountered death in a much different way. The life expectancy was short and there were no hospitals. There was no hospice to help families through the process. Death usually happened in a home, often as a result of disease. Funeral processions were a common sight in streets…often without a coffin.
While physical death has always been dreaded, I wonder if our culture is more fearful than those of ancient times, and more confused, perhaps more shocked, at not being able to control this enemy of ours. But regardless, through every age, death remains death. The finality of it has never changed.
When confronted with its presence, we often find deep within us, the understanding that there will be a final judgment. In fact, our spirits yearn for all wrongs of this life to be made right. We point our fingers at the evil doers of history and deeply desire that they be held accountable. We don’t want for those who intentionally harmed us or our loved ones to escape without so much as a scrape.
However, we don’t like turning the finger towards ourselves when we think of the final judgment because when we do, we are reminded of our own selfishness, lies, pride at the expense of others and…the list goes on and on. So our flesh’s remedy is to do good works, hoping we can offset the sin in our lives. As if there is a scale for such comparison! We compare ourselves to Hitler and we win. We compare ourselves to Mother Theresa and we lose.
Jesus tells us in John 11:12-27 that there is a sure way to win.
Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus arrived in Bethany. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, met Jesus on the road and they had a life changing conversation. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Today, Jesus says the same thing to you and me. “Do you believe this?”
Martha responded, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
No works required. Grace given. Gift of salvation offered to everyone. Freedom from shame and condemnation. Life.
Our beautiful promise. Believe and you will live where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Questions to ponder:
Do I believe Jesus IS the resurrection and the life? What does that mean to me? How does that change how I live this life?