Death is not the end

Yesterday was a day where the Lord wanted to help me work through some ideas on death.

After dinner, Matt and I had to run some errands. In Japan, all errands consist of train rides and tons of walking. We were waiting at a crosswalk at a busier area of town when I noticed an older man walking through the crosswalk and dodging cars on the other side of the road. I pointed him out to Matt just in time for us to watch him get hit by a car going at full speed. The scene was a traumatic one and it’s doubtful that older gentleman survived. I quickly turned around out of instinct and my eyes met with another Japanese woman whose eyes were filled with tears. I then realized mine were as well. Instinctively, we each know that life is valuable. When life is taken away, each of us knows that we weren’t meant for that. It’s written on each of our hearts. My heart aches for that man, for his family, and for anyone who saw what happened.  

Matt and I talked through it some as we made our way home. Both of us were finding it difficult to not completely lose it in public. Before bed, I usually read a chapter or two of Scripture. I just pick up where I left off the night before. Last night, I “just happened” to read John 19 which talks about Jesus’ death. Being led to read about His death after witnessing that tragic event was no accident. Jesus can empathize with us in everything, even death! Jesus Himself had to die to take on the consequences of our decision to follow ourselves instead of Him. We would still live with the full consequences of our rebellion against God’s authority if it weren’t for Christ taking those consequences upon Himself. And because of Him, His followers no longer have to fear death! He alone restores our relationship to our Father and He alone is the reason for the hope we have! Without Christ, we should rightly fear death. But for His followers, He has defeated death and removed its sting. He demonstrated His power over death by rising from the grave! 

It has been an extremely sobering experience for Matt and me. Sharing the Gospel is literally a matter of eternal life and eternal death. We may not have been able to do anything to save that gentlemen last night, but we do have something to offer everyone else; the saving work of Christ. As followers of Christ, we all have a mission to proclaim who He is and that He calls each of us to trust in Him. We don’t have the luxury of being hesitant or complacent. The message we carry is life itself! 

Hebrews 2:1, 9, 14-18

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it… But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone… Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted”.

Hebrews 5:7-9

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him”.

1 Peter 2:21-24

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed”.

John 3:16-18

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God”.