Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan your host of the Daily Challenges. Here we are in a cemetery because this week we’re studying how following Jesus resets our views of death, and in fact, Jesus resets death itself.
In yesterday’s passage, a Christian leader named Paul calls dead Christians “those who are asleep”. The suggestion is that they will wake up in the kingdom of heaven, and be no different from those who might be alive when the kingdom of heaven arrives fully. How does Paul figure?
They will wake up because Jesus woke up. There is a direct connection.
Jesus Died – definitely. We have lots of great textual evidence that matches science to say that Jesus definitely died, it was no mistake. See Christianity 101 for more! He spent Saturday in the tomb, and rose on Sunday. In that time in the tomb, he destroyed death’s power. Usually death is final, but Jesus treated it like a 3 day nap.
Death is nothing to fear for one of Jesus’ followers. Paul asked elsewhere: death, where is your sting? He taunts it, knowing it has no power. Jesus’ victory is not just someone else’s victory to celebrate. He was the first, not the last, so we can follow him not just in life, but through death to new life.
He doesn’t promise that we’ll never die a physical death, like the Thessalonian Christians apprently thought. But if we do, he will raise us.
One pastor asked a child whose mother died: would you rather be run over by a truck, or its shadow. It’s shadow, because it wouldn’t hurt. Well, your mother has not been run over by death, but by the shadow of death.
Regardless of whether we are alive or dead when the kingdom comes, it comes. We arrive there not by our own power, religiosity, etc. but by Jesus’ pioneering work on the cross. He went through death, conquering it first, and invites you to follow.
But that’s just death, how does this impact life? You may know the song, “Live like you were dying”. The idea in that song, and else where, is that if you’re dying you waste everything you have, party it up, before it’s all gone and you’re over.
But if death is destroyed by Jesus, death is now a state we pass through, so living like you were dying means living like every day brings you closer to God’s kingdom. That means using our resources wisely, no wasting them. It means preparing for the kingdom of heaven, so often described as a party, not just partying it up for a moment.
For a Christian, living like you were dying means not taking the short view, but the long view of eternity.
Question: How does Jesus’ death impact your own view of life, and death?