No matter how your life is going this week you can’t escape the fact that death is all around us. Maybe this week has been great. It seems like everything is going right. This doesn’t change the fact that death is still around us. It could just be something as simple as each day that passes is one day closer to death. Or it could be that one phone call can change everything next week. The truth is that when things are going good death is still there but we tend to block it out because the things right in front of us look so good.
But not every week is a good one. Maybe this has been a week of suffering or even the death of a loved one. In these moments we actually can feel the fleetingness of life. We realize that life is hear for but a short time. Psalm 39:5 puts it like this: “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”
The idea of death being nearby is not a very cheerful idea. But reality tells us it is. So what are we to do? Are we to just march slowly each day closer to our ultimate end? Are we to live it up and make each day about as getting as much pleasure as we can before we are gone? Is it about trying to leave a lasting legacy that goes on even after our death?
In the face of the truth that death is all around us, I hope to encourage you all this week with this truth: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). That although death is a scary thing and is so ever present, Jesus tells us that He has conquered death. Consider three reasons why this is such good news for us.
First, that because Jesus is the resurrection and the life death no longer holds as much power. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Death is a scary thing and I don’t want to take away from the pain that loved ones face when someone dies. But we can also take heart that through Christ, death no longer has the sting of sin because Christ has overcome.
This is tough. This isn’t something we want to go to with a grieving friend and just tell them, “Oh don’t worry, death has lost it’s sting.” That is insensitive to what our grieving friends are going through, (read Job). Rather, this truth allows us first to be encouraged as we face death around us but it also helps us to go to a grieving friend that knows although Christ has conquered death, it still hurts those left behind. This enables us to “weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15b). So even though death is nearby, let’s remember that Christ has conquered death and it’s power.
Second, that because Jesus is the resurrection and the life we can live each day with boldness rather than fearing or looking ahead to our eventual demise. Have you ever met those people who just always seem to be down? They are always looking forward to the eventual day and dreading each seemingly meaningless day until then. Maybe you are that person. Talk about a wasted life!
None of us know how long we’ve got on this earth with death being so nearby. Trusting that Jesus is the resurrection and the life should encourage and enable us to live each day selflessly to glorify and honor Him. Why do you think that last thing Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 was “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus wants us to get going and make our life worth something. May Jesus being the resurrection and the life encourage and challenge you to stop wasting each day in that slow march towards death but rather utilize each day as a chance to share His Gospel with others.
Third, that because Jesus is the resurrection and the life not only can I focus on living each day well, but I can do things that are completely crazy for the name of Christ. Read the Bible and see what amazing examples of faith boldness they give us. Hebrews 11 is a great place to see how these people did things none of us could ever imagine. They understood that Jesus was greater than death and thus used their lives to be poured out in service to Him.
What about you? Are you playing it safe? Do you have a five year plan of how you want your life to be? Are you afraid to take big risks because you aren’t sure Christ will come through for you? This is a faith issue. If we truly believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, wouldn’t more of us do bold things for the name of Christ? Wouldn’t we be able to live so selflessly because we know Christ has already given us more than we could ever give Him or anyone else? If your faith isn’t strong enough to do these things, then this should be your daily prayer: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
My hope and challenge to us all this week is to move forward boldly each day knowing that Christ is the resurrection and the life. Death is nearby which means we don’t have time to just sit about mourning this fact. Rather, let’s get busy serving Him in ways that can only be described as supernatural. Let’s face death knowing that Christ has conquered. But let’s also learn to grieve with those who are hurting knowing that the string of death is gone, but the emotional pain remains. Let us truly trust that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.