Death of a Friend   This morning – March 6, 2021 – I opened email and read that a friend has been given only another day or two to live.

A few minutes later, I was in Matthew 13.  After Jesus taught in His home town, people questioned His legitimacy, even as they acknowledged His wisdom and integrity and obvious godliness.  He responded that prophets are honored everywhere except in their home areas. 

Death of John    Matthew 14 opens with the death of John the Baptist.  Why didn’t the Lord Jesus Christ gather an army of angels and break John out of jail before he was beheaded?  And why don’t we read that Jesus was so stressed and distracted that he withdrew for ten days of seclusion?  Why don’t we read Jesus preached against the wickedness of Herod in His next message?   We don’t.  He didn’t.   

Jesus was not rattled.  While grieved over His cousin, the Lord Jesus Christ was not knocked off stride or off message;  He did not collapse emotionally.  

The Most Logical Reason   He did none of those things is because death is not the ultimate.  Death is not all there is.  Jesus even treats His own death as a means to an end  (the salvation of mankind).  He willingly went to Jerusalem because He knew what was beyond His physical death.   

Death is Promotion into God’s presence. It is escape from the injustice, hardship and suffering we experience on this side of death.  Death is a passing through to fuller life (for the Christian).  Death is not the ultimate.  Life with God on the other side of death is.      

The Ultimate    There is more life on the far side of death than on our side of death.  II Corinthians 5:4 says so.  . . .  what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

  • The context of II Corinthians 5:4 is clearly physical death.  Verse 1 says, Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed . . . .   Verse 4 adds,  . . . For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened . . . .  
  • Real Life;  Big Life   II Corinthians 5:4 says . . . what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Odd that we would have to die to really live.
    Swallowed up is only possible when something bigger, more powerful or dominating consumes something smaller and less powerful. We thing of a bear eating a rabbit;  a state-wide political movement absorbing the differing opinion of a small town, or Russia swallowing up some of Ukraine.
    Life (the larger thing) swallows up death (the smaller thing).   

Again, the only way to explain the easy acceptance our Lord displays about          (1) being ignored in His hometown and (2) moving on quickly and unruffled from the death of John the Baptizer is that death is not the ultimate.