Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 16-18; Luke 17:20-37
David H. Roper A few days ago, I spied my old friend Bob vigorously pedaling a bike at our neighborhood gym and staring down at a blood pressure monitor on his finger.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Looking to see if I’m alive,” he grunted.
“What would you do if you saw you were dead?” I countered.
“Shout hallelujah!” he replied with a radiant smile.
Over the years I’ve caught glimpses of great inner strength in Bob: patient endurance in the face of physical decline and discomfort, and faith and hope as he approaches the end of his life journey. Indeed he has found not only hope, but death has lost its power to tyrannize him.
Who can find peace and hope—and even joy—in dying? Only those who are joined by faith to the God of eternity and who know that they have eternal life (1 Cor. 15:52,54). For those who have this assurance, like my friend Bob, death has lost its terror. They can speak with colossal joy of seeing Christ face to face!
Why be afraid of death? Why not rejoice? As the poet John Donne (1572–1631) wrote, “One short sleep past, we wake eternally.”
For the Christian, dying is the last shadow of earth’s night before heaven’s dawn.
Insight: Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is more concerned with dealing with problems than it is with teaching doctrinal truth to the church. However, in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul’s focus is not on problem-solving but on the vital importance of the doctrine of the resurrection. Obviously, the resurrection of Christ is one of the central truths of the Christian faith, so it is not surprising that the apostle would want his friends to grasp its reality and significance.
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