Thursday, August 28, 2014

There Is Only Life

The sun's light was fading. There was a eerie darkness covering the whole land, causing him to shiver. It was like evil was lurking about, ready and waiting for the moment it would win.

Maybe it had already won.

Natsar jumped as a loud moan escaped from the dying man above him. The other two men had died several hours ago, but not this man. He had been clinging to life for the last few hours. Natsar winced as he glimpsed at the man's beaten and bruised body. His hair was matted with blood, and he hung limply, blood covering his hands and feet. Natsar studied the plaque hanging above his head.

Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

Just then Jesus moaned again, this time louder, more brutal, more gut-wrenching. "Father," he gasped out, choking on the words. "Into your hands I commit my spirit!" With that final proclamation, his head dropped harshly, and hung there heavily.

He was gone.

"Certainly this man was innocent!" He whispered the words into the void. No one could hear him now.

Based on Luke 23: 44-47

I picked this part to write about because this is that moment that all of Jesus' disciples, His enemies, the people, and the devil were terrified to face. This is that moment where everyone was wondering if He was really dead.

I won't mince words here. Death is a horrid subject. My point isn't about death, but bare with me...

Almost four years ago, I sat bedside, as someone I dearly loved passed from this world and into the presence of God. The door leading into the hallway of the ICU was open. Shortly after, the phone rang at the desk, and a nurse answered. I remember hearing that nurse state that they only had three patients. Two who were both suffering from the same aliment, and one who had just expired.

Immediately upon hearing the word expired, I was filled with rage. How dare that nurse speak so callously of my family! However, I was too overcome with grief to move from my spot.

Fast fowarding. Now I work at a dental practice, and I hate when the patients pass away, not just because it's sad, but because their files and status are changed to "Deceased."

When I hear words like "expired" and "deceased" to describe someone who has passed away it makes me pretty angry. It makes me angry because I know the truth.

In Jesus, there is no expired or deceased. There is only life.

I hate talking or writing about this subject. It's hard and scary for me, too. My poor husband has gotten countless dirty looks when there is a sad or gruesome death in a movie. But like a fire in my bones, this message would not leave my heart. You need to understand that when you are in Jesus, the physical body may die, but the spirit lives on forever. That's why today's message started off with Jesus dying on the cross for us. Because of His death, WE HAVE LIFE.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.'" John 11:23-27

Jesus asked Martha point blank, "Do you believe this?" There are people out there who claim to love God, and who don't believe this. Well, that's just not true. Several weeks ago, my pastor taught a sermon on how Heaven is real, and death is a lie. You guys need to understand that, too. Death is a scary subject for us, and it controls so many of us. But we are the body, and we need to stand up and say, "NO MORE!" We have life. We have eternal life. We have life in Jesus forever. We will live with Him forever. Nothing can stop that. So, do you believe this, too?

V. Joy Palmer

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