Wednesday, July 10, 2013
1 Corinthians 15:26 NLT
And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
I got news this morning that a friend died. He was only 51. Premature death came to my life early with the death of my grandfather. And then the life changing, gut wrenching, loss of my best friend and only brother (and only sibling) visited my life when on the 4th of June 1987, Daniel Allen Bode suddenly and unexpectedly died. I was irrevocably changed by these deaths.
Death is inevitable. Death is our enemy.
But death is not the end.
I've pasted in at the end of this note the whole passage from 1 Corinthians 15 about Jesus power over death and his ultimate victory over death.
Another passage that really helped me face death and make sense of it, is found in Hebrews chapter 2.
Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
Death and even more the fear of death has a great power over us. Jesus has a greater power.
I can not make sense of mortality and the ticking clock without lastly hearing Jesus.
The night my father called to tell me my little brother had died, I was stunned. I had been up most of the night studying and was deeply in academic mode and weary. Because of university and work I missed my brother's high school graduation. Luckily, my brother came to visit me in Chicago just before he died.
I told my dad, I'd be right there, a five hour drive. I called back to make sure it wasn't a bad dream or I'd misunderstood. No, it was true. (Thinking about it now makes me feel young, nearly a child again, and very vulnerable.)
I sat at the kitchen table and cried out to God. I had no idea where to turn. My Bible fell open to this passage and these were the words I read :
John 11:21-26 NLT
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
I answered, "I believe!"
1 Corinthians 15:12-28 NLT
But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.