1 Corinthians 15:55-58 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Over the weekend, the ministry lost a dear brother who suddenly died of a heart attack. In times of mourning, the realization dawned (once again) that this life is utterly fleeting … a vapor in the wind … and these frail human bodies in which we dwell are mortal dust. We are living in the land of the dead and dying, and only those of us who truly know and are known by the Messiah, upon our death, will enter the land of the truly living!
Mourning is the only honest and human response to the death of loved ones, and it quickens the profound realization just how precious life is. Death, and the funerals which attend it, also inspire the opportunity for serious introspection and for taking account of how we are living our lives in this world. Values, priorities, and building upon the foundation of Christ ought to occupy our minds when we encounter the stark reality that someone else has just gone to his or her reward.
When I think of funerals, I’m reminded of D.L. Moody and his attempt to write his first funeral message as a young pastor. He searched and searched the Gospels and came to the realization that every funeral service Yeshua (Jesus) attended… He resurrected the dead body. Yeshua (Jesus) was the ultimate funeral party crasher! Praise God… He said, “I am the resurrection and the life …” [John 11:25]
Death is the ultimate wake-up call to remind us of the great message we carry … Messiah has come, He raises the dead, and we will give explicit account for our deeds, either when we pass to the next world or when He returns. If He dwells within us, and we allow His resurrection life to inspire our words and guide our actions, everyone we encounter will have the opportunity to know and experience that He truly is “the Resurrection and the Life”!