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On the Journey...
Monthly Insight From Pastor Phil Yoder
Jesus and Death
Our sermon series for the past two months has been to look at what the Bible says happens to people when they die, what they can expect and prepare for. Death is not an easy subject to talk about, nor an enjoyable subject to talk about, and for that reason, most people avoid talking about it. But it is a part of life, and eventually, it touches all of us. The Death of a loved one is very painful for those who are left behind. We spend a lifetime weaving and growing our lives together, then suddenly, our lives are separated, and all we have left are memories, and that is painful. And then the opportunity to express what we feel in our hearts toward a loved one is taken away. They are gone, and those words of love and affection that we meant to say, are too often left unsaid. Please, if you have words of love for someone, don’t wait to tell them!
Even though death is not an enjoyable subject to discuss, it is important to know what the Bible teaches about death, and the great hope that Christians have after death. The Bible tells us that Jesus has power over death, that He rose from the dead, and has overcome death not only for himself, but for His followers! Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last. I am the Living One; I was dead, but look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Jesus declares that He has taken the greatest weapon that Satan had away from him. That weapon (death) and those who have died and are being held in Hades are no longer under the control of Satan, they are now in the hands of Jesus!
The more I know of Jesus, the more I see how precious, how valuable, and how important Jesus truly is, and the more I love Him. Jesus completely revolutionized the human understanding of death and how those with faith in Jesus approach death, taking death away from the hands of Satan and taking control of the world’s most dreaded event. Death is no longer under Satan’s control, it is now in the hands of Jesus, and those hands, those precious hands of immeasurable and incomprehensible love, opened wide and were pierced to deliver us from the fear and from the destruction of death, and from the fate Satan was planning for us. PRAISE GOD! Jesus revealed that from now on, for those who belong to Him, death is not the end, it is the beginning of something new and glorious! It is the step from this world of failure, suffering, pain, heartache, uncertainty, and misery into a new world without evil, without pain, without tears, without age, without fear, without worry, and without death! How can we not, just like Mary at Jesus’ resurrection, fall at Jesus’ feet and cling to the one who overcame the greatest destructive force in the world – Death? How can we not, like Mary Magdalene, fall in love with Jesus? How can we not, like Peter, weep at our failures and denials of the one who shed His blood to give us Eternal Life? How can we not, like the Apostle Paul, allow the bright light from heaven to alter the course of our lives? How can we not, like Thomas, who once doubted but when he saw Jesus alive, cry out, “My Lord and My God!”
Written by Philip Yoder