Tuesday, June 12, 2018
The Alpha of Dealing with Death
UV 2980/10000 The Alpha of Dealing with Death
For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling
Psalm 116 v 8
Death is the scourge of mankind. It nullifies all the personal, individual and collective aspirations and achievements, rendering all that we seek on earth vain or empty and futile. Jesus by embracing death and overcoming it by His resurrection is the first and only one to give mankind hope of eternal life beyond death and the grave. Our faith in Him and His saving grace delivers our souls from death as nothing else and no one else can. When Jesus defined Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life, He is stating that He is the way to deliverance from death, the way to eternal life and salvation. He is the way to learn all of the truth of life and death and eternity. While on earth, He delivers our eyes from tears or sorrows and gives us counsel and wisdom to keep our feet from stumbling.
When Jesus asked the rhetorical question- what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul, He is offering Himself as the sole answer: if one gains Jesus, we have nothing to lose and we are declared winners, more than conquerors for we are given victory over death and victors in life. Jesus destroyed the power of death to harm, to terrify, to sadden humanity. In so doing, St Paul wrote that He removed the sting of death. Death is now only a pause, a comma mark in the punctuation of life. It is a transition, a necessary passage to a better world, the eternal realm of the kingdom of God where no sorrow exists and perfection exists. It is this living hope and confidence that enables martyrs to die with a smile and a song of praise and victory.
Jesus often referred to the dead whom He resurrected as merely sleeping for instance, the young girl to whom He said, “Tabitha, awaken. “ From His perspective, death or the first death is just the equivalent of sleeping. We too each night do a rehearsal for death when we go to sleep. It is a nightly reminder to prepare for our first death or physical death from which we wake up on the other side of eternity. Jesus came to deliver people from the more serious eternal or second death which is continual, terrible and forever. In raising many from the first death, Jesus revealed that He had authority to deliver people from the second death. He Himself tasted the first death on the cross for the sake of everyone, starting with the thief on the cross who reposed His faith in Him by calling Him sinless. It is this hope and confidence that death cannot hurt us in any way that forms the root or Alpha in our hearts and enables us to go out and boldly face life and the world in all its aspects. Like the deadly venom of a snake once removed is useful and only remedy to counter death by snake bite, the lethality of death is removed and now offered as a solution to the ills of this world in the power of the gospel.