I was talking to him about biblical matters the very last day he was conscious. That night he had an unexpected bout with pneumonia from which he never recovered. Today, one week and two days later, I read his obituary. One week—and he was gone!
Death is certain, but its time, place and circumstance are not. How important, then, that we take opportunities to remind others of the need and the way of salvation. I am grateful that the Lord gave me such an opportunity with Ernie.
Is there someone about whose eternal future you are not sure to whom you could speak? Why not take advantage of that opportunity? God may use it to bring someone to Christ.
“Jesus wept”—this is the shortest verse in the Bible (in the original it’s one word!). But about what did He weep? He wept when he arrived at Lazarus” tomb, because of his death. Yet, He knew that He was going to raise him from the dead. Indeed, He purposefully postponed His visit to Bethany until fours day had passed and there could be no question raised about the resuscitation of a person who had wrongly been thought to be dead. So why did He weep?
It also says that Jesus “groaned.” That’s connected with the weeping. Actually the original word indicates that the groaning was in anger. That too adds information about what took place.
There is a grief that is biblical (1 Thess. 4:13), but it is different from that of the unbeliever. Why?
Well, first of all the believer who died has gained by his death (2 Cor 5), because he is now with Christ which is far better. Those believers he leaves behind grieve (he doesn’t), because they “lose” him. Grief has solely to do with those remaining behind—so they are sorry for themselves—that they no longer have his presence with them. But, unlike unbelievers, they know where he is and rejoice for him. At death (among believers), then, there is both gain and loss. Among unbelievers there is nothing but loss– for both the dying and for those left behind. There is no gain for anyone. What a difference!
Moreover, for the believer and his believing dead loved one, there is nothing permanent about the loss; he will be with his loved one once more when he goes to be with the Lord.
So the fundamental difference has to do with gain and loss—but what a difference it is!
You know, we’re both going to die.
“That for sure! Unless, of course, Jesus returns beforehand, and changes us so that it isn’t necessary to die.”
Are you expecting that to happen in your case?
“Well, it could. I’m younger than you (sorry to have to bring up the point).”
No problem. I know how old I am; my body won’t let me forget it. But back to the subject—are you looking forward to the second coming as a way of escaping death?
“Well . . . sorta’”
Hmmmm. Are you looking forward to death if that’s what will happen instead?
“That’s a bit different.”
“Well . . . I’m not sure.”
Will the transition from life to larger life by death be any different?
In either case, you will be with the Lord. which Paul says is “far better. And Jesus told the thief that when they died they’d be together that very day in Paradise.