Life In Spite of Death

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Death is all around us. Yesterday’s terrible events in the Navy yard in Washington once again illustrate too graphically that we are a society in deep trouble. Twelve people are dead because someone snapped and was unable to come up with a better way to solve his problems than to take an arsenal of weapons and to kill everything in sight.

The doctor at the trauma centre who helped to treat the wounded spoke passionately about the need to do something to stop this senseless waste of life. Gun control is a sensitive issue. It’s a messy issue. It’s a political death sentence for the authorities brave enough to deal with it. But in the end, how does the death of ambition stack up against the death of the innocent? Unhappily, even the strictest gun control is not enough to guarantee life.

Yes, death is all around us. But life is the subject of Jesus’ remarks in John 10. However death happens to us, in Christ, that fleeting moment is just a last bump in the road before eternity.

Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).

A little later in the chapter the Lord explains that statement a little more: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (10:28). This latter statement is repeated one verse later—just in case we didn’t believe Him the first time. Those who have trusted their lives, present and future, through faith in Christ, are guaranteed abundant life, here and hereafter.

Since we have to die, most of us would prefer to do it at a ripe old age, without pain, and surrounded by our loving family. For thirteen people, the gunman included, death came without that consideration and without warning.

None of us know the moment when our now will become eternity. But all of us can know where that eternity will be spent and what the quality of that eternity will be. Jesus promised abundant life to those who believed in Him. Today is a good time to follow the example of the Philippian jailor who, faced with his own death, was challenged to put down his sword and pick up his salvation instead.

The jailor woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’ The jailor called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...’” (Acts 16:27-31).

Jesus promised abundant life. He’ll deliver on that promise if we believe. Death, however it finds us, will then have absolutely no hold on us.

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