Truth and Beauty

Humankind's Last Enemy Conquered

Death symbol

   On Tuesday, Daniel celebrated his 35th birthday. A brilliant young man, he already had a doctorate in Physics and was working on his second one in Christian Education. He was engaged to be married in two or three months, served as a chairman of a Christian society, and pastored a church. To those who knew him he was a helper, an inspiration, one leading people to God, a spiritual mentor. On Friday afternoon he went for his usual run. He never returned. During his exercise he collapsed and died. In one moment, all his plans and aspirations came to nothing.

  Shocked and devastated family and friends are trying to come to grips with the tragedy. It seems so unreal and unbelievable - like a lightning from a clear blue sky. Why did God allow this to happen? Death is always an enemy, but why a young man, in the prime of his life, that has been such a dedicated servant of God and men?

   In addition to these specific questions, we all struggle with the notion of death. We know that it will happen to all of us and all our loved ones one day. However, we often prefer not to think about it, to live in denial - almost pretending it doesn’t exist.

   The Bible tells us of another young man in his thirties - thirty-three, to be exact. He too was extremely gifted by God, a Christian educator teaching God’s way to multitudes, and engaged to be married (figuratively speaking). He was likewise a servant of God, dedicated to unconditionally doing God’s will. (See Matthew 5:1-7:28; Ephesians 5:25-32; Revelation 19:6-9; John 6:38; Matthew 26:39-42).

   He led and mentored a group of young men whom he envisioned to one day influence the whole world as far as disseminating the knowledge of God’s Kingdom. He preached, healed, and helped to meet people’s physical and spiritual needs in every way He could. He even brought three people back to life. (See Matthew 24:14; 28:18; Luke 7:11-16; 8:40-56; John 11:1-44.)

   People had great hopes for him - they expected him to proclaim himself as the king of an earthly kingdom and deliver them from Roman oppression. On Sunday, he triumphantly entered Jerusalem and accepted praise and adoration. The following Friday he was dead. Those who admired and lauded him a few days earlier had him crucified. Above his head was placed a sign reading “Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (See Matthew 21-27).

   His friends and followers were devastated. All their hopes were crushed. They were planning to forget all that they had experienced in the previous three and a half years and return to their former occupations. (See Luke 24:13-35.)

   A couple of days later they had another shock. The tomb where he was laid was empty - the corpse had disappeared! Then, an even more incredible thing happened. Jesus appeared among them alive! There was no doubt about it! It was him, alive, having risen from the dead, just like he was trying to tell them that he would, but they couldn’t grasp it. (See Mark 8:31-33; Luke 24:36-45.)

   Death is still a formidable and very real enemy. All of us have directly or indirectly encountered it. However, we are told that Jesus Christ conquered it and brought news of life and immortality. A day will come when there is no more death, sorrow or mourning. (See 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 21:4.)

   Those who died in Christ will be resurrected. Just like Jesus called Lazarus, the Nain widow’s son, and Jairus’ little daughter back to life while on earth, he will return from heaven and call all his deceased followers out of their graves. (See Daniel 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15:12-26.) No doubt Daniel will be among them. He will be reunited with those who loved him. He has left a legacy that will hopefully inspire others to follow in his footsteps till the glorious time of Christ’s return.

   Jesus died for the cause of a great good for many. Through him many can receive, through forgiveness and justification, salvation and eternal life. We don’t often see what good has been accomplished through an untimely death of a loved one. But God promises that all things work together for good for those who seek and love him. (See Hebrews 2:8-11; Romans 3:21-26; 8:28.)

   We are also given us a marvelous hope that death is not the end. Just like Jesus rose from the dead to a new life of glory, his followers will likewise be raised from their graves to a perfect, eternal existence in unspeakable joy. May our present sorrowing be tempered by the hope of that wonderful day! (See 1 Corinthians 15:44-58.)

© 2005 Eva Peck