It means that everything He said is true, that the teaching He gave is practical, and that the life He lived and still lives can make your life different.
Two facts: We’re all going to die. And we’re all afraid of death.
Death is an awesome reality, one with which most of us would rather not deal. We do everything possible to cover it up, making a corpse look alive. How often have you heard someone standing at an open coffin say, “My Sam (or Sally, or Joe) really looks good.” He doesn’t look good! He’s dead! We cover the corpse with polished wood, heap it with flowers, dim the lighting, and place it in a beautiful setting. We do everything possible to hide the reality that someone has become a corpse.
How much better was it when the family had to do all the “dirty work” of preparing the loved one for burial. The family made the coffin, laid out the corpse, used their home for the wake, dug the hole, and buried the loved one. That may seem harsh, but psychologically it was very healthy. People faced the reality of death and were able to deal with it. Grief was hard work, but it was short. Today years sometimes pass before a family fully recovers from a loss. And still we don’t want to think about death. And when we do, we usually say something silly like, “Death is a normal part of living,” or, “”Just like birth, death is natural.” Let me tell you something important: Death is not normal. You were not created to die. In fact, the Bible teaches that you were created to live forever. When Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead, He did it so that you could fulfill your eternal destiny of living forever.
Paul made a startling statement in his first letter to Corinthians:
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep [i.e., die], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:50-58)
Do you know why you have to die? You have to die because you have sinned. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (see Rom. 6:23). No one wants to hear that; nevertheless, it is true. If you jump off a fifteen-story building, you are going to kill yourself. If you put your hand on a hot stove, you are going to get burned. If you sin, you are going to die. On the Cross, Jesus took our sin and declared us forgiven. The penalty of sin (death) has been borne by Christ for us. Because the sin is gone, the death is gone. And Jesus came back from the grave to prove it.
Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). If Jesus stayed in the grave, the first part of His statement is not true; and therefore, it follows logically that the second part of His statement is not true either. If Jesus did not live, then we won’t. But if He did live, if He did get up out of the grave, if He did break the bonds of death, then we will too. He promised that we would; and He is the only one who has the right to make that promise.
The next time you face the reality of death, don’t cover it up; fight it with the truth: Death has died. It died at the hands of Jesus our Lord. Jesus has risen from the dead, and has given immortality to all who follow Him. That is a fact, and you can hang your hat on it.
Adapted from Steve’s book, If Jesus Has Come.