‘But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.’ (v23) Acts 2:24–36
Jesus’ resurrection is the hinge of history. Killed on an executioner’s gibbet, this man, who was equally God, broke the curse of death and rose from the tomb. It’s remarkable that I feel embarrassed by what others might make of my Christian faith when humanity’s greatest fear, death, lies in abject defeat at the foot of the cross.
Again, it’s a remarkable story because we do not expect people to rise from death. Jesus of course, unlike Lazarus, wasn’t restored to life, but rose in a new, resurrected form; hence His command to Mary, ‘Do not touch me!’ (John. 20:17).
Death, it seems, is not subject to popular conversation. God is quickly dismissed, but irrational reactions to death remain. If we are merely mortals, composed of nothing more than six elements, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus, why are we intimidated by death? Surely it would be merely part of life’s natural process and to be seen rationally and non-emotionally.
However, God declares that death offers a portal to a life lived with the Creator of the universe forever. And herein lies the choice facing each one of us, and the heart of our Christian message of hope: will we choose eternity with or separated from God? As Paul declared, to live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).
Related Scripture to Consider: Isa. 26:16–21; John 11:1–43; John 20:11–18; Phil. 1:12–26.
An Action to Take: Reflect upon your own mortality and your fears of death. Maybe, like me, you have lost someone very dear. How have you processed this with God and others?
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, my eternity is safe with You. I pray that my family, friends and neighbours might find assurance in You for themselves. Amen.’
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
Photo from pixy.org