I will never forget the emotion I felt as a young boy when my neighborhood friend was loaded into an ambulance. He had fallen from the monkey bars in our backyard and had lost feeling in the lower part of his body. The medics responded to our 911 call, carefully immobilized his neck, and placed him on a stretcher before transporting him by ambulance.
My friend went on to make a full recovery, but the emotion I felt at that moment is something I will never forget. Even though there really wasn’t any reason to believe that my friend would die, I remember this being the first time that I considered the reality that one day my life would come to an end. Will I take my last breath in the back of an ambulance?
Will it be painful to die? When will it happen? These are the questions that rushed through my mind. But the most significant question was what would happen to me after I die?
We will all die. This is a fact of life. Some may die peacefully. Others by unimaginable tragedies. Some may live 100+ years. Others may die young. The circumstances may vary, but the reality that awaits each one of us is the same - our time on earth will come to an end.
The Bible goes so far as to even point out that our life on earth is really but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow (James 4:14).
This can be an incredibly painful thought to consider. All that I am living for here on earth will one day vanish in the blink of an eye, and then it’s over?
The far scarier reality is that not only will our life come to an end someday, but what awaits us after we breathe our last is unimaginable torment (Matthew 13:30; 25:41; Luke 12:5; John 3:36; Romans 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:29) because we all fall short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23).
Even though we somehow manage to suppress this reality from our minds most days, it doesn’t change the fact that death awaits us all.
This is where Easter ushers in the most incredible news imaginable. “But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us” (Ephesians 2:4), became a man, entered into humanity as Jesus, lived the sinless life that we are incapable of living, paid the price for our sins through his death on a cross, and then defeated death by rising from the dead 3 days later in fulfillment of the Scriptures, “so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
These events literally divided time. And are ultimately what provides victory over our greatest fear of death.
Paul puts it plainly in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Death is certain, but what awaits us after we breathe our last depends on how we respond to the reality of these events that took place here on earth just over 2,000 years ago.
If Jesus did not in fact rise from the dead, then we Christians “are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:19).
But the reality of what Christians will celebrate this Easter weekend and is the crux of our faith is that the tomb in which Jesus' body had been placed after he breathed his last was in fact empty 3 days later (John 20:1-31).
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?[a]”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:55-57)
P.S. If you are seeking to learn more about the evidence surrounding the resurrection, Dave Starrett and Josh McDowell has a great book titled ‘Did the Resurrection Happen… Really?’ that provides a fictional story of individuals seeking the answer to this very question.
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