Death and Hope

"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even though he dies."  - John 11:25
A very good friend of mine died last week. It hit me pretty hard in a lot of ways. I am grieved for my friend and his family.

As I pondered the whole incident I thought a lot about God and death and the sorrow that comes with it (along with all the questions like "Why, Lord?" etc.) As I prayed and meditated on God's Word throughout the week I remembered Jesus and how He responded to tragedy.
I remembered the account of a good friend of Jesus' when he died unexpectedly; and I was comforted by three things about Jesus when He went through tragedy. I was comforted by how Jesus felt, what Jesus said, and what Jesus did in response to Lazarus' death.

1. How Jesus Felt. "Jesus wept." - John 11:35

It amazes me that God weeps at funerals. He weeps right along with us. Death is the most horrible thing for us humans to experience - not the person dying so much as the people who are left grieving. Jesus felt this grief. He grieved along with the family of Lazarus when he looked around and saw them broken.

It is interesting to me that Jesus knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus wasn't grieving because Lazarus was gone. He was grieving because He felt the family's pain.  God never intended death to be a part of the human experience. But, sin, brought in to the world through mankind's rebellion against God caused death. This grieved God's heart then and still does today. God mourns with us when someone dies because it is truly a horrible things to lose a loved one. He knows that and feels that.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones." - Psalm 116:15

2. What Jesus Said. " I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Me will live even though he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" - John 11: 25-26

An astonishing statement isn't it? Anyone who is in Christ will live even though he or she dies... Wow. The child of God is now immortal in Christ! This is hard for our human minds to except but it's true. Anyone who believes in Christ has been freed from sin and it's consequence of death. And, as Jesus said, he or she will not die!

If we were to look at Jesus' statement with our human eyes we'd make the logical conclusion: "What are you talking about Jesus? Lazarus is dead. How can you boldly say such a thing like "Lazarus won't die" when he is lying in that tomb right over there?" But, if we look at Jesus' statement with our faith-eyes we will come to the same conclusion as Lazarus' sisters. Jesus asked them a very important question. Did you catch it? "Do you believe this?" he asked. "Do you have faith in Me and My words and My power?" "Do you believe Me when I say, 'I am the resurrection?'" They answered amazingly: "Yes Lord, I believe." - John 11:27

Through Jesus Christ, God has broken sin's power. Now death has now sting or victory over the Christian. No Christian will die if they will believe in the atonement of Christ for their sins. Even if it looks like they're dead, they are not.

When a Christian dies he or she is immediately transported to heaven. They are not dead; they are very alive and awake; and they will live forever in paradise with God. And so the Scripture says, "To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord."                                                                                                                         - 2 Corinthians 5:8

Their body is left here until the physical resurrection at the end of time. But, they themselves are immediately present with the Lord at the time of physical death. Instantly, they go from this world to heaven. They close their eyes hear and awake there. David believed this and proclaimed boldly about his future death, "I will be satisfied with seeing You when I awake (Psalm 17:15)." So it is true what Jesus says. Whoever believes in Him will not die, although to loved ones and friends left behind it will look like they did die.

3. What Jesus Did. "Lazarus come forth." - John 11:43

Jesus is truly the resurrection and life. And, by His power He gave the command and rose His friend from the dead. The impossible became possible through Jesus and the dead was risen.

I look forward to the day when Jesus gives the command to my body, "Eric come forth" just as He did to Lazarus. When I die my spirit will be in heaven with God. At the resurrection Jesus will command my body to rise from the grace and will join me and it back together again for all eternity. Praise God and His power!

If Jesus felt this way at Lazarus' death and if He said what He said and did what He did He will still do the same today. For Jesus "is the same, yesterday, today and forever." I believe this passionately. I take comfort about these things and I have a great hope and assurance that I will never die, even if it looks like it, because of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

 "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."
                                                                                                            - 1 Corinthians 15:19

 Blessings in Christ,
- Eric

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