Jesus Christ himself is the total master of death in all its forms. “I am the resurrection and the life” He said. Death, in the presence of Jesus, is no longer death. As Paul would later say, it loses it’s sting; the grave loses its victory. Death, in the hands of Jesus, is robbed of all its terror. And though it may take an outward form, it is no longer death as we think of it. For in the presence of life, death can no longer be death. Jesus, you remember, most often called it merely “sleep”. When Jairus’ daughter lay dead, and Jesus came, he look at her and said “She’s asleep.” (Mark 5:39, Luke 8:52) They laughed at him, but he called her back to life. And when word reached him that Lazarus was dead, he said to his disciples “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep.” (John 11:11) They said that was good, for he would recover, but then Jesus said plainly, “No, Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:14b) But just as we do not fear sleep, those who trust him do not need to fear death. Jesus, the master of death, says “I am the resurrection.” What he points out is that the answer to death is not the resurrection, but Jesus. Jesus himself is the answer. It is not merely the fact or the hope of a resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life.” What He means is that no one can hope to escape death unless he is related to the conqueror of death, Jesus of Nazareth. It is this hope in the hour of death which the resurrection brings before us.
I’ve just learned that a classmate of mine from one of my courses this last semester passed away suddenly. I don’t want to use this person’s name, but the professor, as a way of remembering our colleague, sent out a quote from our colleague’s final paper in our class, which was on Death, Dying and Grieving. Here is the exerpt. I didn’t know this person well, but I got to know this person’s spouse during one of our small-group discussions, and my heart goes out to the spouse, and to their family.