“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
John 8:51, (context, vv. 48-51)
R.I.P. “Requiescat in pace”, was discovered etched on the walls of catacombs that dated 150 AD. It was done by early Christians and indicated that “they died in the peace of the Church, that is, united in Christ.” The abbreviation R.I.P., is now used today–“Rest in Peace.”
Death is inevitable, none of us are going to escape it. Exactly 100% of us will step out into this unknown, and as far as I know no one except Jesus has returned to tell us what to expect. But he completely understands our fear, and he will guide us through this moment. He will not let you face death frightened.
“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”
Jesus promises eternal life to all those who keep His word. Our obedience is like a long (sometimes happy, sometimes dreary) hallway that we walk through. At the end of it there is a golden door–for the believer it immediately opens up, but for the non-believer it’s locked tight.
For the unforgiven and the unfaithful, death means doom. For those who want to follow Jesus, death isn’t any different than a graduation, or your wedding day. Rather than listen to the wickedness of the devil, we must grasp truth and not let go. And we really must encourage our frightened brothers. They need to know this.
“How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.”
When I was a young boy, I used to lie at night on my bed, crossing my arms, and pretend I was dead. I also went through an awful fear of being buried alive. I read about caskets that had a bell that could ring if I somehow was trapped inside. Somewhere I read they when they had to exhume a body they sometimes found scratch marks on the inside lid. Pretty heady stuff, for a ten year old.
Until I became a believer, I was haunted by this awful fear of death–I now realize that Satan was trying his best to ensnare me. Fear is his awesome tactic, and it destroys the human heart–but I also know that these moments the Holy Spirit always visits me, and along with him he brings his joy, comfort and calming peace.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
“Death may be the King of terrors… but Jesus is the King of kings!”