Looking Death in the Eye
I have long believed that in order to live well it is important to look death in the eye. One of the most useful little resources on this subject is Marcus Nodder’s book What Happens When I Die? In it he examines Jesus’ words, especially his words from the Gospel of John. Consider this brief meditation on Jesus as our life:
The second part of Jesus’ claim is I am the life, which Jesus then explains in verse 26: whoever lives and believes in me will never die. In what sense do those who believe in him never die?
Physically, of course, followers of Jesus die like everyone else, and at some point Lazarus himself would die again and have another funeral. But the Bible talks about the “second death” which is the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14; 21:8). The second death of eternal judgement—hell—is a much bigger problem than the first death. But those who trust in Jesus will never die in that sense. Someone has put it this way: If you’ve been born only once, you will die twice; but if you’ve been born twice [that is, physically, and spiritually through being born again], you’ll only die once.
But why does Jesus say “whoever lives and believes in me”? Surely it’s self-evident that you need to be physically alive to believe in Jesus. Probably what Jesus means is everyone who lives, not just physically, but spiritually through having eternal life. For those who trust in Jesus eternal life begins now. [Marcus Nodder, What happens when I die?: And other questions about heaven, hell and the life to come (UK: The Good Book Company, 2015), 29-30.]
Eternal life begins now! Or, better yet, it has already begun for those who believe. We can look death in the eye and remember that though we may die, yet shall we live. Do you believe this?
Warmly in Christ,