Death is the great equalizer. It comes for the rich and poor, the scholar and the illiterate, all races, all ages, the healthy as well as the sick. Unless you’re still alive when Jesus comes back again, your odds of dying are 1-in-1.
What happens “on the other side”? What happens after this life is over? Since it seems dark and mysterious to most people, they tend to ignore it until it’s thrust upon them. That’s why I find the dying words of people interesting. Like P.T. Barnum asking, “How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?” or W.C. Fields reading a Bible on his deathbed and telling a friend, “I’m looking for a loophole.”
Or the very last words of Jesus: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Jesus is steeped in Scripture, so nearly everything He says in His final four declarations come directly from the Psalms, including His final phrase which comes from Psalm 31:5.
When Jesus broke a three-hour silence with His cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me,” both Matthew and Mark use the Greek words megas phoné to describe how loudly Jesus spoke. And now with His final words, Luke uses the same megas phoné description.
Notice in the first megaphone cry Jesus calls on God the All-Powerful Creator. And with His last megaphone declaration, He calls on His Father who is All-Loving. How comforting it is to know that God is both All-Powerful and All-Loving! Not only can He answer our cries, but He delights to answer them!
The word Jesus uses for “commit” is in the future tense and it means “to entrust as a deposit.” Jesus believed that God was going to do more than just give Him life again, but that He would give life to all who would believe in Him.
Unlike atheist Bertrand Russell who said, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong,” Jesus DID die for His beliefs, and by rising from the dead proved He was right in trusting God.
Job saw an inescapable death for all mankind, but he also foresaw the forgiveness of God (Job 14:5, 16-17). Jesus died once for all mankind and was then resurrected, bringing about the death of death by making forgiveness accessible to anyone (Hebrews 9:27-28; 1 Corinthians 15:19-22).
We can now have the peace that comes from trusting the only One to Whom we can safely entrust our souls. Because Jesus brought death to death, we can have the same peace when we die that Jesus had when He died.
With faith in Jesus, you can…
…live today knowing you’re invincible until God calls you home
…live today full of joy because your home in heaven is secure
…live your very last day in peace because you know to Whom your soul is entrusted
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series on the dying declarations of Jesus, you can access the full list by clicking here.
The distraught father named Jairus hurriedly left his home. He was looking for this Man named Jesus. People said Jesus could perform miracles, and Jairus needed one.
He found Jesus and quickly explained that his 12-year-old daughter was dying. They had tried everything they knew to do, but she kept inching closer and closer to death’s door. Jesus readily agreed to go with Jairus to his home.
Along the way, Jesus was interrupted by another woman in desperate need, and He stopped to heal her. As Jairus was (im)patiently waiting for Jesus to continue on the journey, one of his servants ran up to Jairus with the sad news, “Your daughter is dead.”
Jesus looked at this heartbroken father and simply said, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe, and your daughter will be well.”
Jairus took Jesus at His word and continued walking with Jesus to his home.
While Jairus was gone, family members and friends had shown up to mourn the death of this sweet girl. They were wailing loudly, but the clear voice of Jesus could be heard even over their woeful cries: “Stop crying. She is not dead, only asleep.”
There was a pause, and then there was a totally unexpected and out-of-place response: laughter.
Not joy-filled laughter, but mocking, derisive laughter at the utter foolishness of the words of Jesus.
“What do you mean, ‘She isn’t dead’” they yelled. “We’ve been in her room. We’ve seen the cold, lifeless body! She is absolutely, undeniably dead!” And they continued to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of what Jesus had pronounced. Many of the laughs probably turned to jeers as they began to mock His foolish, insensitive statement. The historian Luke wrote, “They knew the girl was dead.”
Jesus took the grieving yet believing parents into the girl’s room, He took her lifeless hand in His hand, and simply said, “Little girl, get up.”
And she did. Fully alive!
Let me ask you something: Who was laughing now?!
I’m sure the uncontainable joy of these parents burst out into laughter. And I think Jesus shared in the joyful laughter as well.
“He who laughs last, laughs best.”
Friend, what do you “know” right now? What’s gone wrong that cannot be fixed? What terminal diagnosis have the doctors given? What is approaching death’s door? What has already died?
Listen again to the words of Jesus: “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. (Isaiah 25:8)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:4-5)
Don’t be afraid. Just believe.
Jesus has secured the last—and best—laugh for both you and Himself! A laughter that will reverberate through all of eternity!
Is death the #1 fear people have? The simple and complicated answer is: It depends. Fear of dying is a BIG fear in those that statistically are the least likely to die: the young. But fear of dying is very LOW for those on death row, the elderly, and the terminally ill.
I hope to convince you of a fourth group that shouldn’t fear death. It’s a group that all of us can be a member of: Those who understand that physical death is not the end.
In the Garden of Eden, God planted one tree that was off-limits, and He said that the penalty for eating from this tree was death (Genesis 2:16-17). satan tried to get Adam and Eve to doubt what God said, and after they ate the fruit, it appeared satan was correct—they didn’t die. At least not physically.
But their sin did something far, far worse—it separated them from God’s presence. Now when God appeared, Adam and Eve hid in fear. In fact, Jesus even told His followers that the greatest fear wasn’t physical death but spiritual death (Luke 12:4-5).
Jesus came to lift our hope to something beyond this physical world. He said, “God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not die, but would have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Famed atheist Bertrand Russell said, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”
On the other hand, Jesus DID die for His beliefs and proved He was right by His resurrection!
Friend, listen to me—We’re definitely not living our best life now. We are all terminal. Unless Jesus returns, the chances of our physical death are 1-in-1.
But physical death is not the end! Death of the body means freedom for the soul. Jesus has defeated Death once for all! “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades,” Jesus said (Revelation 1:17-18)
Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
Invite Jesus into your life right this moment!!
Once you have invited Jesus into your life, and your sins have been forgiven, and your destiny following your physical death is assured, this is how you should now live:
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that to be a Christian and to be fearful of death is a sin. A fearful Christian gives God no praise, robs Him of glory, and paints God in a bad light. A happy, secure Christian knows the Lord is his strength, his comfort, his supply. A happy Christian lifts God high and invites others to know this All-Good, All-Happy God too!
We can live this way because Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins that separated you from God, and He was resurrected back to life to assure you that your eternal home in God’s presence is secure!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
You Cannot Hide Your Heart From God
Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men? (Proverbs 15:11 KJV)
God knows the burial places of all His people. He notes as well the resting place of the man who is buried tombless and alone as the man over home a mighty mausoleum has been raised. He saw the traveler who fell in the barren desert, whose body became the prey of vultures and whose bones were bleach in the sun. He saw the mariner, who was wrecked far out at sea and over whose corpse no dirge was ever wailed, except the howling of the winds and the murmuring of the wild waves. God knows the thousands who have perished in battle, unnumbered and unnoticed; the many who have died alone amid dreary forests, frozen seas, and devouring snowstorms; all these and the places of their sepulcher. God has marked that silent grotto within the sea, where pearls lie deep, where now the shipwrecked one is sleeping, as the death place of one of His redeemed. …
Yes, hell, horrible as it is and veiled in many clouds and covered over with darkness, is naked before the vision of the Most High. There is the grand fact stated: “Hell and destruction are before the Lord.” After this the inference seems to be easy: “How much more, then, the hearts of the children of men?” …
God who sees death and hell sees our hearts, for they are far less extensive. … Scarcely have we time enough to tell the story before it comes to its end. Surely, then, God may easily understand the history of a man, when He knows the history of the monarchies of death and hell. [see Psalm 44:21; Jeremiah 23:24; Revelation 2:23] …
God does not judge by the appearance of a man’s great heart, or the outside appearance of a good heart. But He puts it in the scales and weighs it; puts His own Word in one scale and the heart in the other. He knows the exact weight. He knows whether we have grace in the heart, which makes us good weight, or only presence in the heart, which makes us weigh light when put into the scale. He searches the heart in every possible way. …
Oh, you may endeavor as much as you can to hide your faults from God. But beyond a doubt, He will discover you.
From God, The All-Seeing One
When—not if—God looks at your heart, what will He find?
Yes, we should pray—Search me, O God, show me anything that is offensive to You [Psalm 139:23-24]—but then we must repent and ask forgiveness when the offense is revealed. No excuses, no covering up!
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!” —Henry Van Dyke