There’s so much that can be gained by the details of Jesus’s death.
But what’s been bothering me lately is the Spirit of Death itself (Revelation 6:8). So far this year, my sister-in-law passed away and currently my grandfather is dying of cancer.
My sister-in-law died instantly and painlessly, whereas my grandfather is dying slowly and quite painfully. When I first saw him after he stopped chemotherapy, he looked completely changed.
The once big, strong, and lively man was no longer existent. He was in extreme pain, hallucinating greatly, and barely able to speak from a recent stroke he had.
It’s heartbreaking to see how the Spirit of Death can steal the dignity of the people we love. Whether it’s someone slowly withering away or someone passing quickly, death is a thief.
And when I think on it, it seems death is the devil’s last hurrah. It’s a last advance to weaken, terrify, and turn the dying and those witnessing away from God.
And as witnesses, we receive final images of immodesty of our loved ones. Just as Jesus was stripped bare on the cross, they are stripped of their dignity and strength for all to see.
To be honest, the process of dying scares me. I don’t think I am alone in this feeling, am I?
Knowing that my fear was overwhelming me, I asked God for forgiveness, understanding, and comfort. And so God brought Jesus’s crucifixion to my attention.
He led me to read Luke 23:39-43. It was the dialogue between Jesus and the two criminals crucified alongside Him.
One criminal taunted Jesus, trying to get Him to prove His power by saving them. But the other criminal accepted his punishment and asked Jesus to remember him when they perished.
And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)
Jesus didn’t speak to the former criminal, the one who wanted Jesus to prove His abilities. Jesus only spoke to the one who cried out to Him for mercy.
And He said to Him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Jesus was bloodied, beaten, exhausted, and naked. He was hanging on a cross to where He could barely breathe from the weight of His body because it was supported only by the nails in His hands.
Do you realize the significance of His response? Do you realize that Jesus only spoke seven sentences for the entire six hours He was on the cross?
The criminal asking for mercy was the one who received one of those sentences. That’s the love of Jesus Christ, comforting others even in His own painful death.
And though the criminal must have been in extreme pain and fear, he cried out to Jesus instead of turning against Him. Maybe God was showing me that even if we have a terrible ending to our lives, we are still taken care of by Him even before the start of our new ones.
So I ask, when we face death, which criminal are we going to be? Am I the one that will ask Jesus to spare me from death or cry out for Him to take me with Him?
Jesus is truly unchanging in His love, comfort, and mercy. His amazing steadfastness guarantees our salvation if we truly believe in Him.
Who would want to turn away from Jesus? Death is a terrifying experience we must all undergo, but it’s more terrifying for Jesus to not be there with me throughout the process.
And so, the devil tries his hardest to get us to be more fearful of him than of God. He takes advantage of our bodies and minds breaking down, and the inability to physically care for ourselves.
Satan takes advantage of how the process affects our loved ones by creating strife and rampant emotions within families. He tempts caregivers to steal, hurt, and neglect those in their care.
This last advance affects every person. And even though we would like to keep the dying process sacred and untarnished by him, we cannot.
In the end, we’d like to be fully unharmed with our dignity intact, but we can’t control what happens. But we can decide if our life and dignity are more important to us, or if God is more important.
God wasn’t ashamed of our nakedness in the Garden of Eden. He’s not ashamed of our weaknesses and our sinful ways and thoughts.
Clinging To Truth
He doesn’t look at death the same way we do. It’s a beautiful homecoming of His beloved children; a departure from the sinful, decaying world we inhabit to the divinely eternal magnificence of God.
So we leave what we know behind because it was never our home to begin with. I won’t fully understand what heaven is like until I get there, but until then I must remind myself of what God is like.
He is loving, kind, and forgiving. He is incapable of sinning against me.
And He is so much more from my own walk with Him that it would take way too long to boast! So if you find yourself subjected to the Spirit of Death as a witness or are undergoing it yourself, please hold on to what you know and love of Jesus.
He will never forsake you. He will be there with you, even as He was for the criminal dying alongside Him.
When I saw him [Jesus], I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)
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Post Question: Is your fear of death greater than your joy of going home to God? Comment below!