Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Death

Jn.8:51 - ...If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
What is death? We have come to fully embrace the world's definition of death as the cessation of the body life. But the Word of God from the mouth of the Lord Himself says that "He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live". Even in some of the raising of the dead miracles that Jesus did he stated that the person was only sleeping. The Scriptures declare that all unbelievers even if physically alive are "dead in trespasses and sins".
It is a deep mystery, the deepest of mysteries, that frightens all men. Have you every seen someone die? I have seen several people take their last breath, including my own mother. It is an unsettling experience when the person is not a follower of Jesus Christ, and it is a faith building experience when they are. Of course one of the tragedies and phenomenons of today is that many people who die are marginal Christians whose death evokes mixed emotions. Leaving the body is the most important time in anyone's life. It is at that moment that our eternal destination is revealed. It is serious business, and it should be considered frequently. Not in a morbid sense, but every person should examine their own mortality in the light of their relationship with Jesus Christ, and all preaching and witnessing should always have at its foundation eternity. What should it profit a man if he gains money, career, and a "blessed life" and lose eternity.
Now consider the most glorious death ever witnessed, the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Either this death was a grotesque massacre of a deluded Jew from the loins of Judah, or it was the apex of the Creator's plan to provide an escape for His doomed creation. It cannot be both, but it must be one or the other. If it is only a man's death than it needs no further inspection or consideration. It is irrelevant. But if it is indeed the sacrificial offering of the Son of God provided by the Heavenly Father Himself, and if it is the ONLY door to eternal life, then it deserves a lifetime of inspection, consideration, and adoration.
To say that Jesus of Nazareth was innocent is an infinite understatement. He was eternally and wholly pure. Beyond words or thoughts. Spotless. Holy. White. Sinless. Unselfish. Blameless. Loving. All descriptions fall short of illuminating the celestial glory that God's Son walked in. Revealed as the Son, but also the Father God Himself. As Paul says, "Great is the mystery of godliness, that God was manifested in the flesh". The Scripture uses the metaphor that Jesus was "led as a lamb to the slaughter", but that imagery can only reach so far. An earthly lamb unknowingly goes to his death, but the Lamb of God willingly goes to His slaughter. For you and me. It seems to us to be such an insignificant reward - us. But that dilutes the unimaginable love of God. To die is the truest expression of one's love, but to die for one's horrible enemy is unthinkable. The death of our Savior, God's Son, propels us to worship the Risen Lamb with all of our hearts. I sometimes cannot believe my amazing fortune, to actually know Him and receive His eternal life! To say I don't deserve it is actually false humility because it is such an understatement. You and I are vile and accursed creatures that had not only forsaken God but had enjoyed being His enemy. Not only did we deserve an eternity in the lake of fire, we actually deserved never to have been created. We even from time to time display some of those repulsive attributes today. And Jesus knew all this as He was being nailed - NAILED - to a wooden instrument of death for me, and publicly ridiculed, mocked, and murdered for us. And the creatures that had most brought shame to their Father, have now been transformed by the grace of God through the cross of Christ and now bring glory to the Risen Lord. It is an unworkable equation that can only be understood by childlike faith.
And now, Death. No more a victor against us. A defeated foe, our greatest foe, lies helpless on the top of Golgotha. So what does "death" bring a follower of Jesus Christ now? Gain!? Paul says GAIN!! God catches the evil one in his own snare and now death brings to us an eternity with the true Victor, our Lord and Savior. We cannot know the exact process, but we do know that when our hearts beat for the very last time and we close out our earthly existence, that very instant we are transported into the very throne room of the Holy Lamb of Almighty God. A new and wondrous world which human eyes cannot see and human lips cannot speak. Sure the angels - sure the seraphim - sure the gold - sure the jewels - sure the thunders - sure the throngs - sure the singing - but lift your spiritual eyes and fix them on the sight that men have longed for since Pentecost. Jesus.
What can we say? What can we give? How can we ever repay Him? We cannot repay, but we can please Him. He desires us. If you and I could receive a record of how many times over the last five years we turned on the TV, or went out to dinner, or talked on the phone, or went on a trip, or fishing, or golf, or all recreations, and over the next five years we spent time with our Lord at the same intervals and the same durations, I believe we would bless the heart of our Father. And the Spiritual benefits would be incalculable! But in order for that to happen we would have to die to ourselves. Passover. That weekend changed the universe. That weekend changed me.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the full reward of His suffering.
WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN!!

1 comment:

JT333 said...

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far... (Phil 1:21, 23)