Death; September 7, 2021

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I have used this passage at every funeral of a believer I have ever conducted, and I think rightly so. The question that Jesus asks here is of vital importance. If you believe what Jesus said, then death loses its power over you. As it says so clearly in Hebrews, Jesus came to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:15) Many young people fail to grasp emotionally that their bodies aren’t eternal, and so are foolhardy and irresponsible, but even the most brash can fall into complete panic when it looks like they are done for. Jesus’ words express something we often fail to recognize: we aren’t physical beings who happen to have spirits, we are spiritual beings who inhabit bodies. We are accountable for what we do with our bodies in all areas, both in activity and maintenance. As they say with cars, “mileage may vary.” One striking thing about the current pandemic is that the prime “comorbidity” leading to a bad outcome is obesity, which is our personal responsibility. All sorts of things can contribute, but it boils down to the activity of the individual. That aside, every one of us has a “limited shelf life,” and the sooner and better we grasp that, the more productive, and really happier, we will be. Our bodies wearing out is ultimately of no more concern than our shoes wearing out, and they are subject to “recall by the manufacturer” at any time. When we are secure in our faith, in our relationship with our Creator, then death has no hold over us. The process might be scary, or even highly unpleasant, but death itself is a non-issue.

Raised in a home that was steeped in faith, this has been my understanding for about as long as I can remember. That doesn’t mean I’ve always been the best steward of my body! In college on one occasion I was actively seeking to leave my body behind, when the Lord told me clearly, “Don’t do that.” The odd thing is, even after that experience I didn’t immediately shift into a lifestyle of actively seeking and following the Lord. At this point, my only concern about my physical death is those I will leave behind. As though I could save them by my own strength anyway! God can be trusted with me, and He can be trusted with everyone else. I’m certainly not to slough off my responsibilities toward those around me, nor my responsibility to maintain this body, but when God says, “That’s enough,” then I have nothing to complain about. The thing is, very few people around me have that level of peace, and I have the opportunity to share God’s truth with them. I must not let that opportunity slip by! I have already outlived both of my parents, and I want to make the best use of this body while I have it, even while I look forward eagerly to the “new improved model” I will be receiving.

Father, thank You for this reminder. You keep reminding me of the depth and breadth of Your grace toward me. Thank You! Help me be a good son, a faithful servant indeed, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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