Can we talk about death?
There are two kinds of death. There is spiritual death, meaning permanent separation from God as a result of unredeemed Sin.
And then there is death of the worldly physical body, which Christians know as the gateway to eternal life with God in His eternal kingdom.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
I should think that Christians would be less squeamish about death, at least the bodily kind. And maybe more squeamish about spiritual death. I mean, it’s salvation from the latter that inspires us to evangelize. Bringing the Good News of the Gospel isn’t just a way to get more people in pews on Sunday mornings; it’s the most anti-death … pro-eternal-life … way we can love our neighbors here on Earth.
I am not afraid of bodily death. In fact I think I kind of look forward to it — not in a morose or suicidal kind of way, but as the day I will finally go home to be with God forever. I wouldn’t do anything to hasten it. That would be contrary to God’s will. God created us to fill His purpose here on Earth and it is not our place to second guess Him. But far from dreading the day when it is His will that I join Him in Eternity, I actually kind of look forward to that day with anticipation.
There are many ways of leading people to Christ. Before I became a Christian there were plenty of Christians through the years who tried to tell me about Jesus, including some family members I cared about very much. But I wasn’t interested in being the target of their evangelizing. In fact there were many times when people I cared about tried to talk to me about Jesus, and I distanced myself from them in order to avoid becoming a target of their religious agenda.
But the person who actually led me to Jesus did it through a discussion of death. We were talking about bodily death as something that is inevitable, and he asked in almost an offhand way, “If it were your time, do you feel that you’re ready to go?” I said no, I don’t feel ready yet, even though I know it will eventually happen, and we never know when that will be. He asked something about what would make me feel ready, and I said I didn’t know, but I felt like there was more I needed to do before I’d be ready to die. I asked him the same question, whether he would feel ready if his time happened to be now.
I will never in my whole life forget his response to that question. He looked me in the eye, and with an almost supernatural expression of joy and absolute certainty he said, “Yes, I am!”
There was something about the look on his face that felt like it directly reached out to my soul. It was instantaneous – in that very moment I knew that whatever the source of that confident calm supernatural joy he projected, I wanted that too. We weren’t even talking about religion or about Jesus. But I knew he was a Christian and that he was onto something that I’d been seeking. I didn’t say anything to him at the time, but I decided right at that very instant that I was going to start reading the New Testament, because I wanted to find out where that supernatural joy came from and I suspected I might learn something about that from the Bible.
And that was how I found Jesus.
It all started with a discussion about death – not as something tragic or scary, but just as something with a 100% certainty that we would all face.