Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Time's Up, Death

There are some people I have a hard time just being around. I'm not sure why, but some folks just make me edgy, like I have an itch I can't scratch, or like I'm sitting on a particularly uncomfortable lump. When I'm around them, I just have to MOVE....preferably to somewhere else.

I'm not proud of this. Whoever they are, God, after all, gave them life, just like He gave it to me. My life is not better or cleaner or more presentable to God than is theirs. They are flawed. I am flawed. And, deep down, I pretty well know that Jesus does not love me any more than He loves them. We are joined by our common, and commonly imperfect, humanity. 

But I just don't like them.

I occurred to me, however, that although Jesus loves us all equally, there are some things He simply cannot abide, either. 
Like Death. 
Yes, Death.
Jesus hated death. He warred against it. He undid it. And eventually, He defeated it.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.--1Corinthians 15:26
He Himself also partook of the same that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, Satan.--Hebrews 2:14
I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.--Revelation 1:18

This is no gentle Jesus. This is the guy on the white horse, the one with the sword, the one so bright I can't even look straight at Him. This Jesus is a warrior and every bit as powerful and terrifying as His Father. This is the Jesus who walked out of the grave and confronted Death himself.

And it was no contest.

Because Jesus didn't really have to fight at all. He just had to show up. The conquering didn't require any hewing and hacking. The outcome was never in doubt. All He had to do was to withdraw His permission.

Death existed only by God's express permission, but when His time was up, it was up. Jesus put His perfect thumb on our side of the scale, and Death fell off the other side. All done.  Death had already obeyed His command a number of times in full view of anyone who happened to be around. He chased Death away from Lazarus, from the son of the widow in Nain, from Jarius' servant and, of course, from Himself. Death has been warned. Christ will not allow it to exist either in His presence or outside of His express permission.

Why is this so hard to understand?
Maybe because all of life's other terrors happen while we still live. Yes, we get sick, but we usually get well. Yes, we might lose our job, but the possibility of getting another one is still open to us. But death, well, we just END. We disappear from the face of the earth. Death is a lot scarier for us than misfortune or hurt or loss. 

But not for Christ. They are all the same to Him--one cause, one temporary tolerance, and one permanent solution. Death to God is no stronger than a bug to us. Swat it and it's gone.

And He's done it. Our body may still die, but we will live. We will live with Him and laugh at Death. You know the old taunt:
Where, O Death, is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?--1Corinthinians 15:55

Talk about a knight in shining armor...


  1. So how do we defeat our needing to not be around that "person"? I say we pray for Jesus to conquer our reaction to our feelings

    1. Ah, yes...that does make the complete circle, doesn't it? Sure wish I were better at it...

  2. great post. I can not relate too much with the first part, I am pretty much ok with most folks. I guess I just avoid those I may not like for some reason. I cant think of anyone though, not offhand, not in my circle..........but the 2nd part, on death....yes 100% yes. Death, the ultimate adventure, what comes next ........unless Christ comes back before then and saves me from that, but somehow the body would still have to die in order to be made new? Right? ah well. Some day, we all find out. Janice

    1. So glad you related to all that, Janice. Even now, it makes me a little queasy. Death is no friend of ours. The ultimate adventure? True, but I'll wait...