Arms were folded. Sighs were heaved. Tears blurred the sight as heads shook in grief. It was a funeral and someone I knew was there, seated among the relatives. The atmosphere was somber and the seats were cold. The officiating minister went on with his speech. Whether the speech contained a eulogy, I cannot tell. But that person I knew was quite disturbed after the funeral. The speech left a smear of death on the mind, a smear that brought grief and uncertainty.
The message from the funeral majored on how believers should live a life worthy of emulation and the unbelievers should take the gospel to heart because someday, “everyone” will go to the grave. In addition, the idea of being in the grave someday should make you grave enough against evil and spur you to do good.
This was inspiration through the fear of death and not many want to die.
It is true that we may grieve for a ‘dead’ one. Sometimes, it is not easy at all because of the circumstances involved. However, we should not be overcome by sorrow. Our Lord, Jesus Christ knows how we feel but He never saw physical death as an end, He said it was transitory, a temporary state. In fact, He called it ‘sleep’ (Matthew 9:24, John 11:11).
On several occasions, He woke the dead from their sleep and brought them to their loved ones. He stopped funeral processions and turned them into ‘get together’ parties. Truly, He had power over death.
Like the Jews of old, Christians believe the words of Jesus concerning the resurrection. But there is more for the Christian in the resurrection. Jesus Christ Himself is the Resurrection. In Him and to Him, no one is dead. He is the personification of immortality. He laid down His Life and took it up again, then He took us through the same regeneration process, as a foretaste of what is to come.
Furthermore, He holds the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). He reserves the right to kill and make alive, to lay to rest and to quicken (Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6). He is Lord over all. In fact, by His resurrection from the dead, Lord Jesus made a public spectacle of his foes (including death), showing His supremacy and victory over them. We have hope, Jesus is our hope.
So at that funeral, we remind ourselves that Jesus has triumphed over death. The fact is death is not the end, rather, it has been ended in Christ. We have a foretaste of this glory and we crave the full package. When the Son of Man is revealed from heaven, we know that we will be changed, mortality will be covered with immortality and decay will be consumed by life.
Isn’t this enough to sing songs of praise? Receive the good news: Jesus has defeated death. Let us comfort one another with these words.