Jump Start # 2681
Hebrews 2:15 “and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”
The fear of death—boy, that’s powerful, real and crippling for many folks. People don’t like to talk about death. People don’t want to talk about funeral plans, where to be buried and such things. Nope. Bring this topic up at a party, and you’ll clear the house and most won’t come back again. We avoid this topic until it’s forced upon us. But all around us, every day, we are reminded of death. The news. Social media. And those dreaded late night phone calls, telling us of someone’s passing.
I know of three families right now who are awaiting the death angel to come to a loved one. It’s just a matter of time, and it won’t be long.
Why is it that we are afraid of death? Here are some thoughts.
First, death is so final. It’s going through a door, but that door only swings one way. No one comes back. Every funeral that we have been to, that person has remained dead. No one can really tell us what it’s like. It is not like being at an amusement park and waiting in line, you see folks who just got off a ride. You look at the expressions on their faces. You hear them describe what they went through. That prepares you for what you are about to experience. Death isn’t like that. We are not meeting people who just went through it. It’s a one way road and that is scary. What’s on the other side? Will it hurt? What if I’m not ready? Lots and lots of questions that lead to fear and uneasiness.
Second, to our passage, until Jesus, death seemed to be the greatest victory Satan had. Jesus was the first to conquer death. He overcame death. He was resurrected never to die again. All others before that were resurrected, died again. Lazarus, the Lord’s friend, died again. The widow’s son, raised by Jesus, died again. Jairus’ little daughter, raised from the dead, died again. They all died again, until Jesus. And, because of Jesus, we too will be raised one day never to die again. That is our hope. That is our belief. We will be raised to live eternally with the Lord. In Heaven there is no death. Death and hades are thrown into the lake of fire.
Third, until Jesus, forgiveness wasn’t really possible. The O.T. way was a system of perfection and obedience. And, with death always in the air, what if I haven’t been right? What if I haven’t done enough? What if I haven’t been good enough? And the answer to all of those is simple, you haven’t. You are not walking up to Heaven on your own. If you were, you have no hope and no chance. It’s the grace of God that will save you. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sins. That changed everything. That made it possible for us to be righteous, holy and justified. Death was so fearful because after death stood Hell. There was no escaping that. But now, through Jesus, and because of Jesus, we can be forgiven. The concept of death now changes for the believer. Death is seen simply as a doorway, much like birth. Birth took us from the womb into here. Death takes us from here to there. And, there is where God is. So, death is merely a door. It’s a door that swings one way, but it’s just a door. Don’t get so fixated on the door. Don’t think about the door. It’s what’s on the other side that truly matters. Death gets us from here to there and there is where we want to be. On the other side, all the troubles of this life won’t find a place. There, on the other side, we will be with the righteous and our Lord. Jesus makes all of this possible.
Finally, what’s it like to die? Medically, we can learn about the shutting down of the organs until the heart stops. But, that’s not the answer we are looking for. What’s it like to die? Jesus told of angels gathering Lazarus and taking him to Abraham’s bosom. I believe that still happens. Does a person see the angels before they go? I don’t know.
I heard long ago a story of a boy who was dying from cancer. He asked his mother what was going to happen. She said, “Do you remember when you will little, and you’d fall asleep in front of the TV. Your father came and carried you up to your bed. When you woke up you wondered how you got there. You’ll close your eyes here and open them on the other side. Your Father in Heaven will send His angels and they will carry you to the other side. You’ll open your eyes and everything will be fine.”
When Jesus bent down and touched the hand of Jairus’ daughter who had died, He told her to arise. She opened her eyes. I expect the first person she saw was Jesus looking at her. I like to think when we close our eyes here, we will open them and see the face of Jesus.
I can’t tell you what it is like to die. But I can tell you, God will take care of you. He always does and He always has. It will be ok. Don’t dread, worry nor be fearful of this. Keep walking until it’s time for God to carry you home.