The Spirit of Death & the Two Crucified Criminals || 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)...

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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.

death: dying man in wheelchair

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.

Stripping Bare

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.

death: Jesus bare on cross

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.

Crying Out

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)

death: Jesus crucified with two criminals

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.

Amazing Mercy

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.

death: Jesus is love

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.

Creating Strife

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.

death: creating strife

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.

death: beautiful sunset with clouds

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!



  1. Your post gave me goosebumps! I can fully say that death is a scary thing and it is not that I do not know that I am going to heaven, but it is the unknown, so I can totally relate. I loved the question you left at the end…”Is your fear of death greater than your joy of going home to God? Definitely something to ponder on today.

  2. I’m not afraid to die. I don’t want to die right now as there are so many things I still want to see, experience, and do, but I’m not afraid of death because then I know we will be free from the evil and pain of this world.

    I loved your lines, “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.” So often we are ashamed and we turn away from God because we don’t believe we are worthy of His love, but these are great lines to combat that thinking!

    • I’m amazed at your bravery! I, on the other hand, struggle with being unable to control what happens to me in the end. I don’t want to leave my loved ones with last images of despair, but I want to leave this world strong in my faith and joyful!

  3. A couple years ago, I went through a difficult season of death, where I had multiple family members pass away in a matter of a few months. Sometimes we forget that God is with us even through this suffering. Thanks for sharing, and have a blessed day!

    • It’s difficult knowing that God is watching our suffering, but I reminded that He also watched Jesus in His suffering. It’s not that He doesn’t care or feel for our pain, but that He is allowing our suffering for a Divine reason. Maybe someone witnessing our steadfast faith will turn to Him or maybe someone seeing our eventual decay will seek salvation through Jesus Christ. For whatever reason, I must always trust in what He has planned for me, even if it means a difficult ending. Thanks for sharing!

  4. So sorry you’re walking through this tough journey. In the last 18 months, I’ve lost my best friend to cancer, my dad to a stroke and my boss (and good friend) to another illness. It’s been tough, and I’ve asked lots of questions in the process. There are two things that will keep you, if you can go back to these in the midst of confusion and storms. 1. God is good, and 2. He loves me. – Praying for you as you walk through this hard place, that God would show Himself strong on your behalf, and that He would cover you with His wings. Also, he will take the fear away, shout grace to that mountain in front of you. Ask for His grace (enabling power) to increase as you walk through this tough place. He will do it. xoxoxo ~ Alicia

    • Thanks, Alicia! I’m sorry you’ve gone through such difficulty!

      I don’t doubt God’s love for me and that He’s good, but I do fear the unknown as well as leaving loved ones with last images that are hard to erase. I’ve had a family member that’s witnessed a final image of a loved one that was terrible and I would not desire that for anyone! But I just need to remind myself that God knows what He’s doing and it’s all in His hands, even if I don’t understand it. Thanks for your prayers!

  5. I’m not afraid to die either. I know when I close my eyes, I will be in God’s presence. A life free from pain and hurt in Heaven is going to be amazing!
    I pray your grandfather knows of our Savior!

    • Thanks Julie, he does!

      My fear, however, stems from experiencing what my grandfather is right now. He has terrifying hallucinations that cause him to fear closing his eyes. And on top of that, he is suffering greatly with cancer and it’s hard to not take that to heart. I love him dearly and don’t wish that type of ending on anyone, even myself! But I continue to pray for relief and for the hallucinations to disappear.

    • Thank you for your honesty, Andrea! We may not be as joyful as we’d like to be in the end, but I think if we cling to His promise and love more than the fear of death, we can overcome!

    • That as well, Alice! I’d hate to bring any kind of pain upon my family, especially since my husband has lost so many people close to him in his life. But that’s why I need to encourage their hope in Him as well as mine, no matter what happens. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jessica this is such a beautiful and God-breathed revelation.
    In the midst of pain when the theif cried out, Jesus too responded back in excruciating pain.
    These two moments were just to speak to us and say, “Look to the One who has the keys to death and hades”. the Power of death sting was conquered and Jesus has given us resurrected life at His bosom.
    yes! I too have an electric rush when I think of death and sometimes it chokes me from breathing … But even in it when I look to Him, there is Hope that isn’t shallow but deep as the ocean.

    • Thank you, Ann! My hope in Him is something that I want to strengthen as I continue my walk with Him. It’s wonderful that your hope is as deep as the ocean, even if there’s still fear present! Definitely something for me to pray for:)

  7. I don’t fear death. Thrrr often in a physical trial involved in the death process and I pray that through that time I will be able to focus on Jesus and not the pain.


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