Week 7 – Days 43-49
Day 43: The Last Words of David
The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. II Samuel 23:3-4
Last words tell us something about a person.
David was a man of many conflicting elements: a poet and a warrior; a shepherd and a king; a calculating sinner and a man who was humbly repentant.
In his last words, found in II Samuel 23, David describes himself as the son of Jesse, the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel. He valued his heritage, recognized that God had lifted him from an obscure position to one considerably higher, accepted the calling of god on his life, saw his compositions and music as just as important as his kingship.
Perhaps that is why he next (verses 2-3) affirms that what he now writes comes from God’s Spirit. His words are inspired by God. As a ruler himself, he was concerned about just, godly rule. He sees the benefits of such leadership (v. 4) – it is like a sunny morning and life-giving rain. David values the promises of God (v. 5). David liked to think of contrasts. In Psalm 1 it is the godly person versus the ungodly, for example. Here, it is the just and godly ruler versus the worthless man (verses 6-7), who, instead of like sun and rain is likened to thorns.
We, too, should value the appointment God has given us in life. In Nehemiah 9:7-8, 12, 19, the writer recalls that God chose Abram and led him out of Ur of the Chaldees and, later, led the nation in the wilderness. When we are young people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. I never had a clear picture of that and only later zeroed in on being a teacher or pastor. Now, many years have passed and I can look back and see that God chose me and directed my life. Like David, I, too, can value my heritage – what my grandparents and parents contributed to my life. I can see how He took a shy boy and prepared me for responsibilities of family and leadership. In my two careers (pastor and professor), I can easily think of others in both professions who excelled me in accomplishments. Is that what matters to God? Or is God more concerned about how we approach whatever roles God gives us and about character?
- Read II Samuel 23:1-7.
- How has God led you? What “humble” beginnings did you have? Can you see the hand of God in your development as a person and your calling in life? If given opportunity to record some last words, will you give to God the praise He deserves for His guidance in your life?
- David thought that being a composer of psalms was as important as being a king. In your estimation, what is important in your life? relationships, family roles, friendships, career, honours received?
Day 44 – Regrettable Last Words
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Last words can tell us what kind of life people have led, and, sadly, can also show a life without God.
- Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led their families and others (about 250 in all) in rebellion against Moses. When summoned by Moses to account for their actions, they replied, “We will not come!” They continued their verbal attack on Moses, claiming that he had failed to lead them to the promised land. “No, we will not come!” they shouted. Then the land opened up and swallowed them and their possessions (Numbers 16:1-33). Their last words reflected stubborn refusal to follow God’s chosen leader.
- Abimelech ordered his armour-bearer to finish him off after he was struck by a millstone dropped from a tower by a woman. He didn’t want it said that a woman had killed him. How foolish! Such pride and distorted values! Is that what is important when your life is ending? (Judges 9:52-54)
- Goliath showed hubris when he cursed David and said he’d give the young shepherd’s flesh to the birds and beasts. (I Sam. 17:43, 44)
- Nabal refused to help David and his men, remaining self-centred to the end, “Why should I take my bread and water and the meat and give it to men coming from who knows where?” And 10 days later God struck him and he died. (I Sam.25:37, 38)
- Others die bragging about the wrong things. An Amalekite reported King Saul’s death to David, claiming to have killed and beheaded Saul, only to be executed himself on David’s orders, for he had said, “I killed the Lord’s anointed.” (II Sam. 1:10,15,16)
- Sapphira’s last words were a lie. “Yes, that is the price.” To this Peter exclaimed, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:8-10)
- King Herod was vain to the end, accepting the people’s acclaim before an angel struck him down for taking praise that belonged to God. (Acts 12:21-23)
Instead of showing repentance or concern for those left behind, these people showed stubbornness, pride, false values, arrogance, bragging, lying, and vanity. In death, they were consistent to how they had lived. In C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, characters from hell, who are visiting heaven, prefer to return to their miserable existence rather than to leave behind their bitterness, anger, and corruption. How sad that so many hang on to their pride and self-delusion till the bitter end.
- Read Numbers 16:1-33; Judges 9:52-54; I Sam. 17:43, 44; I Sam. 25:37-38; II Sam. 1:10, 15 ,16; Acts 5:8-10; Acts 12:21-23.
- Are there things in your own life that you know you should let go of but find it very hard to do?
- As you think of people in your own life who have lived unrepentantly, or who are doing so now, go to prayer for these dear, misguided folk. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” II Peter 3:9
Day 45 – The Last Words of Moses
“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27
Moses’ last words were in the form of a blessing. To bless is to speak well of or to ask God to favour. When Moses was dying, he asked God to favour the people of Israel. Moses was aware that the only favour that really counts comes from God. He reflected on the great gift of God’s – the law given at Mount Sinai. Certainly, it was no small thing that God visited His people, accompanied by myriads of angels, and lovingly gave them His instructions about how to live. In these words we find the affectionate (and poetic) name God used of Israel – “Jeshurun”, meaning approximately “God’s beloved people”.
If we wish to bless those who follow us in life, we need first to seek God ourselves. So, Moses does this in Deuteronomy 33:1-5. Then, Moses mentions the tribes of Israel (all except Simeon, a tribe that had been scattered and absorbed by the others), giving a special word for each – words appropriate to their placement geographically and their focus as a unit within the broader nation. In doing so, God showed His concern for where they were and what they would be doing, that is, with practical, everyday matters.
God is attentive to the earthly setting and everyday challenges we face. Some of us live in prosperous settings (33:13-16), some have to deal with enemies around them (33:7) , some are privileged (like Naphtali, 33:23, the place where Jesus was raised and began His ministry), and others are given responsibility for the handling and instruction of the Word of God (33:10). You can see how this applies to us individually in our day and calling. Moses concluded with some general comments about the nation as a whole (33:28-29) in which he prayed for and trusted God for the nation’s protection and triumph. That’s where we find beautiful words like these in 33:27, 29: “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms… Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord. He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.” Though these blessings are specific to the nation of Israel, we can also see in them the love God wishes to express to all His followers. God is both Israel’s and our protector and provider, ruler and defender, our teacher, the one who loves us. He sees us as His beloved.
- Read Deuteronomy 33.
- How would you turn some of the blessings pronounced on the twelve tribes into terminology appropriate to you in your place and time? Do you see yourself as loved by God? How is He teaching you, or, perhaps, enabling you to teach others? In what ways are you a protector of others?
- How would you bless your offspring (both physical and spiritual)? What would you wish for them? Perhaps your particular wishes will vary some for each child or grandchild you can think of.
Day 46 – The Last Words of Stephen
“And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:5-60
Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to justly handle the growing needs of the church in Acts 6. These men had a practical assignment (seeing that Greek-speaking widows received a proper portion of provisions) along with the responsibilities of prayer and spiritual teaching. Accordingly, Stephen met the qualifications of a good reputation, being Spirit-filled, wise, and full of faith. God used him in a preaching and healing ministry which aroused enemies to falsely accuse him to the point of inciting the local council to call for a hearing, after which Stephen was stoned to death. The last words of Stephen consisted of a lengthy message about the way the people of Israel had rejected the patriarch’s faith and the law given through Moses and, later, the message of the prophets (Acts 7:1-53). Finally, as he lay dying we read that Stephen looked toward heaven, saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father and said his final words (Acts 7:56-60). These words consisted of three statements:
- “Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (verse 56)
F. F. Bruce, in his commentary on Acts, says three interesting things about this statement: (a) Stephen’s vision of the presence of Christ Jesus at God’s right hand was more real to him than the angry mob and their stones. (b) He saw the “Son of Man” – the Old Testament title for the coming and ruling Messiah, and the same term said by Jesus Himself in Mark 14:62 in reference to His future return. (c) And the presence of Jesus beside the Father spoke to His new intercessory role for His people, “more immediate and heart-satisfying than the obsolete temple ritual” was able to provide. “It meant the hour of fulfilment had struck.”
- “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (verse 59)
This and the next statement remind us of the Lord’s last words on the cross (Luke 23:46, 34). It is not difficult to release yourself to God when you see the majesty on high with Jesus standing to welcome you!
- “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (verse 60)
The grace of God is displayed in Stephen in his dying concern for his persecutors.
We may wonder how we would handle such terrible and terrifying assaults as Stephen endured. The example he sets is one of a believer still trusting God in the face of the worst kind of opposition. In his final moments on earth, Stephen is even more focused than ever on the person of Christ, sees His glory and the certainty of the martyr’s own future joy. He follows the Lord’s example, too, in his self-yielding of his spirit into His Lord’s hands and in his departing prayer for those who are in that moment rejecting his testimony about Jesus.
- Read Acts 6:1-7:60.
- In these chapters we are directed to the qualifications of God’s servant (Acts 6:3-8), the past work of God on behalf of His people (7:1-50), and the presence of God with his saints in their most trying moments (7:54-60). Which of these three emphases is most compelling for you to consider today? Review and meditate on those verses in particular right now.
- God is always looking for people who fully seek Him (Psalm 53:2; Ezekiel 22:30; John 4:23). In His search for someone to fill the gap, will He find you ready (qualified as Stephen was) and willing?
- It is always good to reflect on God’s work in the past. Knowing scripture and church history, and remembering times in the past when God has been there with you, helps you understand His purposes and appreciate His support. What past work of God is helpful for you where you are right now?
- Recall a trying moment in your life when you sensed God’s presence alongside you. Did that come through a deep inner peace? a passage of scripture? a word of encouragement from a friend or mentor? a specific occurance that showed God’s sovereignty? the example of another Christian? something else? Now, think of a current pressure situation you are facing. What assurance of God’s presence is helpful to you today?
Day 47 – The Last Words of the Apostle John
“He who testifies these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen, Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21
About John, one of the twelve apostles, we know quite a bit. He was a fisherman from Galilee who travelled with Jesus. Together with his brother James and with Peter, John served in the inner circle of Jesus disciples, witnessing the transfiguration and the grief of the Lord in Gethsemane. He gave us the Gospel of John, the three letters of I, II, and III John, and the Book of Revelation. At the end of the first century he recorded these words in the last chapter of the New Testament: “He who testifies these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen, Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21
John’s last recorded words focus on the return of Jesus Christ and the grace of Jesus Christ.
First, we read, “He who testifies these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!“ (Revelation 22:20). The Lord Jesus says He is coming back and at a time when He is unexpected. This was a frequent theme in Jesus’ teaching.
- “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
- “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:40-44)
- “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:40)
Jesus was insistent that His followers know that He was returning. The reappearance after the resurrection was only a brief taste of the eternal presence He promised those who believe. The New Testament writers followed this teaching with more along the same lines.
Second, we read, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21)
Merriam-Webster defines “grace” as “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. The passage form John 1 (below) says that Jesus Himself is the grace of God – God’s undeserved favour towards us, a gift from God. He delivered grace and truth by addressing the problem of our sin and separation from a holy God through His sinless life, demonstrated goodness, and ultimate death on our behalf.
- “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”(John 1:14, 16, 17)
“Think how stupendous the words are: ‘the grace of Christ’. That means nothing less than the personal impact of Christ Jesus Our Lord upon us, to make us quite different from what we were before.” (Arthur Michael Ramsey, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Trinity Church, NYC, Oct. 14/62)[http://anglicanhistory.org/amramsey/new_york1962.html]. Adam Clarke paraphrases Revelation 22:21 this way: “May the favor and powerful influence of Jesus Christ be with you all; you of the seven Churches, and the whole Church of Christ in every part of the earth, and through all the periods of time.” (Adam Clarke, 1760 to 1762-1832, was a Methodist theologian and author of a Bible commentary that took him 40 years to complete.)
To the end of his life, the Apostle John appreciated and was excited about and anticipated the grace of Jesus Christ.
- Read Revelation 22:1-21.
- The scriptures say that God extended His unmerited favour to us in the coming of Jesus and in Christ’s continuing ministry to us and promised return. How does this relate to you? How does one make these truths personal?
- John looked forward to the return of Jesus Christ. Do you? How do you think you will face death?
Day 48 – The Last Words of Jesus
“Then Jesus, calling out with aloud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.” Luke 23:46
The last words of Jesus Christ consisted of seven sayings He spoke while hanging on a Roman cross:
- “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”
- “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.”
- “Behold your son; behold your mother.”
- “My God, My God, what have You forsaken Me?”
- “I thirst.”
- “It is finished.”
- “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Each deserves thoughtful consideration, but for this day, let’s look at only those sayings that the Gospel writers record as what He said in the immediate context of the yielding up of His spirit.
Matthew 27: 46, 50 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why_have you forsaken me?”… 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
Mark 15:34, 37 “34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?… 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.
What does it mean to be “forsaken”? It’s time for another definition from Merriam-Webster. “Forsake” means “to renounce or turn away from entirely”. Jesus used words from Psalm 22:1,2, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”
Most likely you have felt forsaken at different times in your life – with no one to play with as a child, neglected by a parent, betrayed by a friend, ignored by a partner, left without recognition by a boss, and on and on. You felt forsaken even if you did not experience full renunciation or entire turning away.
In Psalm 22 the writer recalls a time he was mocked and physically brutalized, but no one came to his rescue. He called out to God and it seemed as though God did not hear or answer. The description is such that it accurately describes the cruel treatment Jesus Christ experienced on the cross, and by His own words we see that Jesus Himself took this description of forsakenness to apply to His ordeal.
Did God the Father really turn away from His Son? And, if so, why?
Charles Spurgeon in his great commentary on the Psalms – The Treasury of David [http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/treasury/ps022.htm]–says, “It was no threatening of forsaking which made the great Surety cry aloud, he endured that forsaking in very deed.” Spurgeon goes on to speak of understanding how Judas, or even Peter, could forsake Him, but how could His loving Father do so? Yet He had done so. As a result, Jesus became a “mass of misery”. Why? Spurgeon quotes John Flavel, a 17thc. Presbyterian writer, “Because he was forsaken for a time you shall not be forsaken for ever. For he was forsaken for you. It is every way as much for the dear Son of God, the darling delight of his soul, to be forsaken of God for a time, as if such a poor inconsiderable thing as thou art shouldst be cast off to eternity. Now, this being equivalent and borne in thy room, must needs give thee the highest security in the world that God will never finally withdraw from thee.”
The experience also helps us in our times of feeling abandoned. Thus, we can learn from the Psalmists who continues to hold onto the Father and call on Him for help, and in verse 21 and following finds it.
- Paradise + Committing one’s spirit
Luke 23:42-43, 46 “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise… Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”
One of the Lord’s last words was mention of “paradise”, the place quite opposite to the cross on the hill where both the repentant thief and Jesus hung in agony. This promise to the thief provides us with assurance of the reality and immediacy upon death of heaven. If you have been with someone at that point when earthly life ends, you see the profound difference that moment makes. Where a moment ago there was a living person, now there is an unresponsive body. The person is not there any longer. Some think the individual simply ceases to exist. Others believe there is some kind of intermediate state of existence before an eventual final reckoning with God. In scripture, Paul says that to be away from the body is to be home with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8) and to die is gain – to depart this life is to be with Christ which is far better (Philippians 1:22-23 – for more on this see Day 49, next).
Jesus also spoke of committing His spirit to God the Father. You may have known someone who clung to life beyond what was expected and of another who appeared to give up living. In Jesus’ case, He consciously gave up His spirit. Though it appears that human beings influence their time of departure (e.g., suicides, reckless or careless living that shortens life, or alternately, healthy exercise and eating habits), the Bible teaches that ultimately God determines our length of days. Consider these verses:
- Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” This verse says that God is in control from the very beginning to the very end.
- James 4:14b-15, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” James adds that we ought not to presume that we can control things; we are to submit to God’s will.
For a helpful article on who controls death, see Jackson, Wayne. “Who Is in Control of Death?” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 22, 2018.[ https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1083-who-is-in-control-of-death]
- Thirst + Finished
John 19:28-30 “28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
The incident of the sour wine shows the humanness of Jesus and the tremendous thirst the crucifixion brought about. His death was real. “It is finished” tells us that this part of God’s eternal plan was fulfilled. The Greek word translated “finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” It was not just the physical suffering that was over, but more importantly, the debt of our sin was paid. The Book of Hebrews explains that the Old Testament sacrificial system pointed ahead to Christ and the cross, and then says, “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
When our life comes to an end, people may speak to our service to God and our service to people as being completed or finished. We know now, while still alive on this earth, that we have failed in some (or several) aspects of what God has called us to do; none of us will have completely finished our calling but we can learn from this thought and from Christ’s example that we ought to use our remaining days well – “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12).
- Read Luke 23:26-49.
- Jesus’ last words speak to the price He paid for our redemption, His submission to the Father’s will, His commitment to the end, and His knowledge of the wondrous future that awaits the trusting soul. Consider the need for the suffering of the Cross before the welcome into paradise and how all the sayings of Jesus on the Cross link together.
- Some of the sayings Jesus Christ said at the end were particular to His life and purpose and relationships. Some may be things we could say. Which ones?
Day 49 – Both Sides
“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and I will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3
Today, I sit in the hospital beside the bed where my 97-year-old mother lies. Most likely, she is dying – in her final illness. It was expected, I know, that this day would come sooner rather than later for this remarkable woman who has outlived nine siblings, her husband, one son, and many friends. But it is still hard to handle.
Jesus sat at stood beside a tomb (of His friend Lazarus in John 11:33-36), and encountered grieving parents (the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7:11-17; Jairus’ daughter in Luke 8:49-56). He wept and prayed and tried to reassure loved ones. Then, in Matthew 26:36-46; 27:45-50 He faced His own “deathbed”, a Roman cross, and asked a few friends to pray for Him, and to come with Him and keep watch. In other words, He was experienced being present for the dying and their families, and then faced death Himself. Also, He knew death from both sides – the dying side and the afterlife.
In the case of Lazarus and the children, He brought new life.
In His own case, after experiencing the pain of depths dying process and even the more horrible sin-bearing and separation from His Father in heaven, He also experienced the release and joy of resurrection!
In the departure from this life, He commended to God the Father His spirit, and afterward, in His return to life (only an infinitely better one) He shared the joy of the Spirit.
There are two sides of death. God is on both sides.
He knows there is pain and sorrow on the one side. He also knows the everlasting joy that is on the other side, a joy we do not yet know. He and the Apostle Paul, led by the Spirit, talk much of this joy in the Bible:
What Jesus said
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He have His only Son. that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and now is here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”
John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”
John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and I will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Luke 23:42-43, “And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’”
What Paul wrote
Philippians 1:21, 23, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain….My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
Philippians 3:20-21, But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”
I Thessalonians 4:16-18, “ For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry ofcommand, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of thetrumpet of God. And thedead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:4-8, “4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we wouldbe unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.8 Yes, we are of good courage and we would rather be away from theat home with the Lord.”
I Corinthians 15:19-21, 40, 42-44, 51-53 “19 If in Christ we have hopein this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits ofthose who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead…40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable… 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
- Read the verses above. Note what God wants for us. How can it be true? (think about the word “believe”)
- Contemplate the two sides of death. Read Luke 16:19-31 and notice that the rich man had one experience of what lies ahead after death and the poor man quite another. [Note: A week after I wrote a first draft of this devotional, my mother passed away. At the time of her passing, I leaned over her ears (knowing she could no longer hear for she was no longer there) and asked, “Are you seeing Jesus now?”]
- What do you anticipate will happen to you after your death?