Everywhere we look we see death. It is a part of every life cycle, from plants, to animals, to humans. The beautiful flowers that sit on your counter, the blooming trees in your garden, the fish in the fishbowl, or the cheetah flying across the planes of the Savanna, will all pass away. Most devastating is the death we encounter when someone we love dies.
The Christians in the Thessalonian church were worried and fearful that believers who had died before the return of Jesus Christ would miss out on that glorious event when Jesus comes back.
But Paul encourages them (and us) in two ways:
Mourn the Dead
Death is hard. It can rip your world apart and turn your life upside down. It is a part of the curse brought on by sin. Death is horrible in every way and so it is okay to mourn. It is normal to feel brokenhearted, devastated, and sad. But Paul tells us that though we mourn those who died, we don’t mourn the passing of Christians as those who have no hope (vs.13).
While death steals beloved ones away from us, they are not lost to us forever. Death is but a temporary state and a gateway into the presence of God and an abundant eternal life.
So when we are faced with the loss of a fellow sister or brother in Christ, don’t let your mourning drive you into depression. It is just a temporary pause in your relationship, not the end.
Mourn, but don’t let your mourning keep you from doing what God has called you to do. Every one of us has been given a mission and we must work diligently as ones sent out by God to do what He has called us to do. Don’t let death fool you into thinking that all is lost when in reality it is death that has lost everything.
Rejoice in Death’s Demise
In the midst of the ugliness of death, we can rejoice. We can rejoice in the sure hope that through Christ’s resurrection He conquered the grim reaper so it cannot conquer His children.
“Death is but an awesome step over time and sin to sweet Jesus, who knew and felt the worst of death; for death’s teeth hurt him. We know death hath no teeth now, no jaws for they are broken.”
Christ felt the full sting of death, the complete bite of its jaws. Instead of it being a pit of hopelessness, it is now a bridge of hope leading us to all that is good and holy.
Death is no longer the end, but the beginning of life without sin, without evil, without tears. It is the beginning of life with Jesus, in the presence of God, perfected and made holy. It is the beginning of full joy.
The Thessalonians were afraid that the believers who had died were going to miss out when Christ returned, but the good news is that even there, death cannot hinder the believer. Paul explains that when Christ returns the dead will be raised to life so that they too will witness the glory of Christ’s second coming.
Death is ugly and dark. It is bleak and filled with hopelessness for those who do not love Christ. But for the children of God, the darkness of death has been banished with the light of Christ’s power.
Yes, death causes pain for those who remain here on earth, but we have hope that Christ has overcome death, and that on His return it will be forever banished.
Looking to Jesus,
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