Death Is Not The End

In 1974 Ernest Becker – a Jewish cultural anthropologist – won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Denial of Death.  He articulates the thesis of the book as follows: “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else: it is a mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.” From 50 years of observing and studying human behavior, Becker determined that what motivates and propels people to do what they do is the fear of death – it is as he said, “a mainspring of human activity.”

That is a powerful observation by a non-Christian thinker.  Consider the implications in the lives of those around you.  How much do people do to avoid death, to avoid thinking about death or to deny the absolute eventuality of it in their future?  Yet Hebrews 9:27 is clear: “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”  And the world responds, “I can’t think about that right now, if I do I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” (Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind).  So, we fill our world with distractions.  We are an entertainment-saturated culture.  We fill every waking moment with games, TV shows, music, movies, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pandora and the like. We fill our lives with noise so there are never moments of silence in which the weightier matters of life must be faced and contemplated – matters like death, dying and judgment.

But God provides moments and opportunities for us to turn off the noise and consider these truths.  For the Christian, these moments are not only necessary but nourishing to our souls.  When we consider our own mortality, we can find ultimate hope in the truth that Jesus, the immortal Son of God, died but then defeated death to provide us hope! Earlier in Hebrews we find this nugget of truth: “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)  Because Jesus tasted death for everyone we can KNOW that death is not the end!

For those who know Jesus, this is a glorious truth.  For those who don’t know Jesus, this is a terrifying truth that “haunts the human animal like nothing else.” But God uses the terrifying reality of death to awaken cold, lost, dead hearts to life in Christ. 

 This Easter we will plunge headlong into the truth that “Death Is Not The End.” Easter is a great opportunity when friends, family members, coworkers and acquaintances are most likely to respond positively to an invitation to come to church.  I can assure you of this – those you invite to our Easter service will be faced with their own mortality and the eventuality of their death. But they will also hear the life-transforming truth of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus which provides life eternal and hope everlasting. 

Pray – Invite – Expect,
Pastor Troy

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