I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in Me will never die. (John 11:25-26)
Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were close friends of Jesus. “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was for two more days.” By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had died. Martha met Jesus with these words: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” The above words are Jesus’ response.
How shall we understand these words about life and death that seem self-contradictory? The Passion of the Christ, a 2004 epic drama, is the highest grossing R-rated film in America history. In his review, movie critic Roger Ebert wrote, “It is clear that Mel Gibson wanted to make graphic the price that Jesus paid (as Christians believe) when He died for our sins.” Obviously, the price was physical. Physically, death is the beginning of the end: “From dust you have come and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). It involves the termination of the physical. The vital signs (BODY temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate and blood pressure) “go south”!
However, the physical, though most graphic, is not most fundamental. Listen to Jesus’ words: “At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?’” The core of death is spiritual—spiritual separation from God. It is HELL! Of this the Apostles’ Creed speaks: “Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell.”
Alzheimer’s is a horrifying disease! Debra Dean captures the distressing experience: “She is leaving him, not all at once, which would be painful enough, but in a wrenching succession of separations. One moment she is here, and then she is gone again, and each journey takes her a little farther from his reach.” Death is spiritual Alzheimer’s—separation of the human spirit from the Creator.
Now, Jesus’ words about life and death are crystal clear!
Here’s the most important words: “Those who believe in Me will live.” “During the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965, Ed White became the first American to conduct a spacewalk. He floated outside the capsule attached by an umbilical cord tether providing oxygen and communications from the spacecraft” (NASA). “Jesus said to the fishermen, ‘Come, follow ME!’” (Matthew 4:19). Believing is nothing other than attaching to Jesus, The Life, by the tether of faith. George Müller, a man of great faith, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He once said, “I long for a warm personal attachment to Him.”
“People tethered to God by faith can let themselves go because they know they will get themselves back” (Cornelius Plantings). Are you tethered to Jesus? It’s a life and death matter!