April 3 I Tuesday
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” —1 Peter 1:3
It has been said we are not truly equipped to live until we are equipped to die. Life is short, after all. As James says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Though seldom talked about, most of us harbour a fear of dying, and this fear is made worse when we are uncertain about what happens after we die.
Philosophers and theologians have debated the afterlife for millennia, and their views can be summarized into three main possibilities. The first is complete acceptance that there is nothing after death. Evolutionary and author Richard Dawkins describes death as a “general anaesthetic;” we simply cease to exist after we die. This view looks for meaning in leaving a legacy behind, though inevitably requires we accept that our descendants will probably not remember us within a few generations.
The second view is reincarnation. Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism teach we are reborn in the physical world after we die, and our rebirth is based on how we behaved in our previous life. If we behaved poorly, we will come back as something less, and if we behaved well, we will come back as something better. The problem here is that in order to do better, how does one conduct themselves in a current life when there is no memory of particulars in their past life that caused their current life? It would be like starting at ground zero every time.
The third option is that we move on to a spiritual world after we die. There are many different versions of this view, but only one comes with a guarantee. Jesus Christ is the only religious teacher who has passed into the afterlife and returned. His resurrection assures those who believe in Him not only of spiritual life that restores us to relationship with God, but also of a physical resurrection at the end of this age.
Jesus unequivocally states, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die” (John 11:25). Short of Christ’s return, we will all experience physical death. Our bodies will continue to decay, but Jesus’s death and resurrection mean we do not have to fear death. Our souls continue to live beyond the physical and temporal. As Paul says, “…the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). When we are united with Christ, who has won victory over death, we share in that victory because we receive in Him a life that lives on into eternity with Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your work on the cross which has given me victory over death. Because of Your resurrection and my faith in You, I am overwhelmingly blessed with eternal life! Thank You, Lord!