Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus, the Cure for Death and Dying

We die! It is a fact of life. But how many of us really understand why we die? Is it a purely biological phenomena that we come into the world, age, and die? Is it because we are not medically smart enough to cure and prevent illnesses that weaken our bodies and kill us? Or is it we have the misfortune of being in an accident that is fatal? We die because we cannot live forever by God's decree. Do we really want everybody to live forever? The murderer, rapist, thief, liars and idolaters. Do we want them to believe they have no condemnation for their sins? We all die. It's the reward for sin. Even for those of us who believe we are basically good! (Rom. 3:9-20)

Death came into the world at the very moment we chose not to follow God. Gn. 2:17) We are born in the likeness of Adam. (Gn. 3:5) His first son was a murderer. Not even God could stop him. (Gn. 4:6-11) God shortened man's life to reduce the opportunities to sin in the world. (Gn 6:3) And even this did not prevent Him from starting over. (Gn. 6:6)

Man can do no good. Even our good deeds are born from a self-serving heart. (Is. 64:6) So when we do not get the rewards we were looking for, we get angry, jealous and quarrelsome. So what is the solution?

The solution is to change our heart. ( Gk. metanoia = repent) But we cannot do this on our own. And this is where Jesus Christ comes in. He is the Holy one of God. When we see Him take our nature to the cross, see that He stood between us and God, taking upon Himself the punishment meant for us, we become sorry for our sins. And we want to put our trust in Him who died for us. After all, He rose from the dead. That’s right, he paid our penalty and shows us He is the Way to eternal life. We cannot help but look to Him for our salvation for our hearts are broken.

On that first Good Friday, Jesus died in our place. On that first Easter Sunday, He shows us that not even death can bind Him in a tomb. He is Risen! This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the Church. As the Rt. Rev, J. C. Ryle, the first Bishop of Liverpool states, "It is true that we deserve death - but Christ has died for us. It is true that we are guilty debtors - but Christ has paid our debts with His own blood. This is the real Gospel! This is the good news! On this let us lean while we live."