Our culture does not handle death well. We are hide it. We run from it. We fight death tooth and nail. I think that there are times when we more than anything else want immortality.
Other cultures celebrate death. When a loved one dies they hold a parade and celebrate their freedom from this rock and their entrance into eternity.
Why are we afraid of it?
I think we are not so afraid of death as much as we are afraid of the consequences of our lives. Somewhere deep within us we wonder if we have lived a life that is worthy of either being remembered or possibly eternal life.
Jesus touches on this deep seated fear when in John 8,
So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. (John 8:21-30, ESV)
Even in Jesus time there was a fear of death. Particularly a fear of dying in one’s sin. If you died this way, you would be separated from the Father forever. The people knew and understood this. Jesus pressed on this reality. What was required of them to go where he was going? Believe in him.
Imagine what a breath of fresh air that would have been to the average Jewish person of the first century! No more rules. No more striving to be perfect. No more sacrifices. Just believe. Believe in the one whom the Father sent.
Do you want to be free from fear of death? Believe.
Do you want to be sure of eternity? Believe.
Your belief though must be in the one who was sent. Who was this? Jesus. How do we know? We know because he was lifted up for us and rose again.
Will you believe?