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Monday, October 15, 2012

Hope in the face of death

"I am the resurrection and the life.
 whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."
    (John 11:25)

All of us face the inevitable reality of death one day. It's a subject we prefer not to talk about and instead continue to make plans and pursue our dreams. Yet it's unavoidable. Death is all around us. Our lives are rudely interrupted by the tragic news of a best friend killed in a car wreck or a next door neighbor facing terminal cancer. The headline news is filled with murders, violence, and stories of incredible suffering and evil. The lives of people are shattered by this painful reality. Are there any answers that can give us hope in the face of death?
Nearly two thousand years ago, words of hope were spoken to a Jewish woman named Martha and her sister Mary. Their brother Lazarus had suddenly died and their lives were filled with grief and mourning until Jesus arrived on the scene.
Jesus gave Martha words of hope that shattered the darkness and reality of death.
Jesus proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."
 This is an incredible declaration that looks death right in the face and says, "I have the final word!"
 Jesus wasn't just trying to encourage Martha with a pep talk to soothe her hurts and pains. NO!
Right before the eyes of Martha and Mary and others gathered in the village of Bethany, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus come forth!" Still wrapped in his grave clothes, Lazarus emerged from the tomb to the astonishment of Mary and Martha. Death and decay were powerless against the command of Jesus and Lazarus was living proof that Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be, "The resurrection and the life."
 Millions of followers of Jesus courageously risk their lives everyday, refusing to recant their faith because they have the assurance that at the instant of their death, they will stand before their living savior never to die again.
We live in a culture of fear and hopelessness with the certainty of death lingering all around us, interrupting our plans and dreams for "the good life." As a result many put their hope and faith in science or the latest diet fads to help them prolong their lives.
 However, the incredible promise of Jesus is the only words of hope that can overcome and destroy the sinful curse of death upon the human race. The promises of scientific progress and the claims of diet fads are built upon a shaky foundation in comparison to the promise of Jesus.
 You and I can confidently look death in the face and have real hope and assurance when we trust in Jesus. He alone has the words of eternal life. The curse of death is forever swallowed up by the greatest words ever uttered, "I am the resurrection and the life."