In my mind’s eye I am standing once again in my grandfather’s kitchen delivering him the news about my grandmother’s terminal cancer. His watery blue eyes fill with tears but he sets his jaw with that grim New England resolution I have grown up with.
He lifts his chin proudly refusing to let the tears escape, “Well we have had 61 wonderful years together.”
Despite his assertions of thankfulness I know something in my grandfather dies that day. That is the point he loses the will to live. That is the moment where life becomes a rash clinging to his mortal skin, a plague to be cured so he can rejoin my grandmother on the other side.
In this world one out of one dies. Death is ever-present in the midst of life. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 it is the final enemy, man’s nemesis. Because of this plague on the world we all know lament and raise it up from one end of the globe to another on a daily basis. Somewhere right now someone is weeping over some soul cast forth from the Earth into eternity on this day we call Good Friday.
I can see a hill with three crosses. Two criminals hang beside him, one to his right and one to his left and there on the middle cross, struggling for every breath, hangs the Darling of Heaven, God with skin on, Jesus.
He gasps one last time and cries out “Into Your hands I commit my Spirit.”
Immortality meets finality. The whole world laments. The clouds weep darkness and the earth trembles in terror as God dies. But in this world it is a rule as certain as death, God changes everything He touches. And when He touches death it is changed from enemy to entryway for those who believe on the Lord Jesus to be rescued.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12
In my memory I am sitting at my grandmother’s side as she prepares to breathe her last. I sing her to Heaven with her favorite hymns, “In the Garden” and “How Great Thou Art”. It is 4:30 A.M. and the hospital smells of antiseptic as death creeps in to take her. But because of the cross death can do no more than release her from cancer’s shackles. Because of the cross 61 years of happy marriage are not forever marred because of death’s pall. Because of the cross my grandfather can hope in a better future even as his own life wanes alongside hers.
We can raise a lament for this dying world. It is sad. Today is a day to recognize the awful power of this enemy called death. But it is also a day to recognize that long ago on a hill called Golgotha God and death had a showdown and there in that time and space God’s touch forever made a slave of this thing that enslaved us. Jesus died on Friday but hang on church Sunday’s on the way!
Pray with me today:
Jesus I thank you for Your cross. I thank you that You met death and won! I thank You that Your power has turned death from an enemy into an entryway. I believe in You Jesus and receive Your death on the cross as my access into Heaven. I know I could never do enough good works to enter Heaven on my own but You have made a way by dying for me by taking the punishment for my sin. I love You Lord and dedicate my life to You this day. Amen.