“Blessed are the dead which die in the LORD.” Rev 14:13
Some years ago a TV movie was shown, entitled “Death Takes A Holiday.” In this film Death, which was personified, felt that people simply did not understand the wonderful purpose it served, but instead clung to “life” at all costs.
Seeing no other recourse, Death decided to “take a holiday,” to remove himself from the world for a 24-hour period. During this one day everything continued as usual — except no one died. Disasters and tragic accidents occurred, grave illnesses ravaged bodies and filled hospital ICUs, and the elderly continued their decline — but no one died.
Suddenly, people began to realize that death is a vital part of life, that the world desperately needs it. The movie ended on a positive not with Death explaining how he stood for deliverance from all pain and unpleasantries.
The message of this film reflects the only possible explanation and comfort a godless world can draw from death — the end of earthly troubles. And yet, as Scripture clearly teaches and even natural man senses, death is not the end. There is “something” beyond the grave; and that “something” involves facing some kind of divine tribunal who will judge them and their lives. Why else would mankind the world over bother with religion?
In all of our churches the somber Lenten season is now giving way to the joy of Easter. The Easter Story, far from being some humanly- contrived, fictionalized tale of false hope, is a divinely-inspired factual account of living and eternal hope. Its message: Death Takes An Eternal Holiday!
Our Heavenly Homeland
Jesus once said: “If a man keep My sayings, he shall never see death” (Jn. 8:51). By, in, and through our crucified and risen Savior, death has been removed — not simply for 24 hours, but forever and ever. It has been overcome and obliterated by the Lord of Life and it shall never return.
To be sure physical “death” still awaits us as a sin-residual. Yet in Christ it becomes the passageway to life eternal. Death’s sting is gone, Grave’s victory is lost. On the other side of the death tunnel lies a Land and a Life too wonderful for words to describe, our heavenly Homeland.
Yet, note that little word “if” in our Savior’s words. Living forever with the Lord is not a guaranteed right of human citizenship. Sin and death are not “friends” to learn to cope with or find comfort in, but “enemies” which have destroyed man’s life, his relationship with God, and his hope of Paradise. Only by “keeping Jesus’ saying” (read the John 8 context), only by Spirit-created repentance and faith in Him “who was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification” will man conquer real death.
Today man still seeks his own elusive and illusive ways of co-existing, coping, and being comfortable with death. All involve nothing more than spiritual “whistling in the darkness” of impending divine judgment. Yet without Christ, death must always remain that one last, great, mysterious, undeniable, and inescapable reality that simply will not go away.
There is an eternally better way — found in Him who is risen, who lives, and who promises His believing followers: “Because I live, you also shall live!” Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Thanks be to God, who has given death an eternal holiday!
–Pastor David Schierenbeck