Kathy and I just finished watching The Fountain, starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. IMDB describes the movie this way: “As a modern-day scientist, Tommy (Jackman) is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz).”
Jackman’s character Tommy is obsessed with finding a cure for his wife’s cancer to the point where he devotes nearly all his time to his research, often at the expense of his relationship with his dying Izzi. He’s consumed with finding the answer to the problem of death.
Death, Dying, And Easter
I think Easter is one of the most relevant times possible for us to explore our anxiety over our own mortality. I know there are some this Easter who are struggling with the fear of death. And there’s a logic to it because the reality is, despite the amazing progress of science and medicine, one statistic about death remains completely unchanged: 100% of us die. And that inspires fear.
Life insurance companies know this. We see them play on this fear in advertisements on TV and on the internet. The content creators of mass media also recognize our fear of death. When they feature articles about health remedies that promise to help us live longer, they know they’ll attract readers, listeners, and viewers (which in turn attracts advertisers–some of which might be life insurance companies).
But what we fear, I think, is not death itself, but what’s beyond it. That fear is a bondage Paul says in Hebrews. We fear what’s on the other side of death because something in the core of us suspects there is judgment on the other side. (Hebrews 2:14-15)
By Whose Standards Am I Judged?
Imagine with me a man at the gates of heaven trying to make a case for himself.
The keeper of the gate says, “I can’t let you in.”
The man says,”But I lived a good life! Why can’t I come in?”
And the keeper says, “I’m truly sorry, but your life didn’t meet the required standards.”
And the man says, indignantly, “That’s not right! That’s not fair! By whose standards am I judged?”
And the keeper says, “Yours” And then he reminds the man of every criticism he ever made of others throughout his life. And after he’s finally finished he asks the man, “Have you lived your life without violating these standards?”
And what can the man say? The very standards by which he’s judged are his own. There’s nothing for him to do.
“Have you lived your life without violating these standards?”
The man looks down, and knowing the eternal consequences of his answer, with the most profound sadness, gives the only answer he can give. He says: “No.”
Who then can stand? Who can hold up under such a standard. Everyone of us is doomed,
Jesus said as much. He said every one of us is doomed. He said, every one of us will die in our sins, unless…
None of us can pass that test the moment after we die. None of us can bear up under that standard, our own standard. That’s why Jesus said, “unless.”
“Unless,” he said.
“Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
Jesus is the unless. Jesus is the He we can believe in. Jesus is the one who “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10) Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) He’s the One. If you look to Him and believe in Him you will have eternal life. That’s God’s will Jesus said. Read it for yourself in John 6:40.
That’s why his disciples didn’t fear death. That’s why they gave their lives as martyrs for him. That’s why they said, as did Paul, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” They knew, to be absent from the body is to be at home with our Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:55, 2 Corinthians 5:8)
That’s why billions of people fearing death over the last 2,000 years have cried out to Jesus for their salvation.
That’s why I cry out to Jesus for my salvation.
Like the scientist in Hugh Jackman’s movie, we’re all searching for the answer to death. And Jesus’ resurrection, on Easter Sunday, is that answer.
He’s the One.
Easter is the perfect time to put your hope in him. Now is the perfect time to put your trust in him. Confess your sins to him. Ask him to fill you with himself. Surrender your soul to him, so you have hope for what happens after you die, so you can have eternal life, with him.
Give yourself to him, right now, and live.
If you have questions, I would love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might also like Why Didn’t God Heal Me?
Ray Stedman, The Death of Death, RayStedman.org