Our family recently suffered another loss of a loved one. We spent several days at his bedside waiting, knowing the end was near, and wanting to be with him as he exited this world. It was comforting for us all to be together during this time. We shared stories and memories of days when we were all a lot younger. We remembered times of laughter, love of family members who have already gone, and how the family dynamics has changed with the loss of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. That stubborn man waited until everyone had gone home to take his last breath. We are now down to one remaining member of the generation before me. But that time we all shared with him helped ease his passing for us. The grief is there, of course, as we miss someone dearly loved.
22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief. (Matt 17:22-23) NIV
The disciples were filled with grief over the thought of Jesus’ death. There are times when I question death and what truly happens. As I think of this in light of Jesus and his death and resurrection, everything I’ve learned about being body and spirit makes sense. Jesus was (is) God—not the body in which he dwelt.
1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matt 17:1-5) NIV
Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man. I never thought about that before, how often he refers to himself as Son of Man but I had an “ah-ha” moment. He was God, living in a human body, and only the “Son of Man” part of him was going to die. With sin came death. Physical death of the flesh. Not of the Spirit! In the first few verses of Matthew, we witness Jesus as “Son Of God” (proclaimed by God Himself)! He was God’s plan of redemption from the beginning. Romans 6:5 states, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” We, too, are spirit—not the body in which we dwell. One day we will be gathered up with him (1 Thess 4:13-18) and be with Him throughout eternity.
This past weekend I had two of my grandchildren, aged four and eight. As we were driving in the car, the older one started asking me questions about death. “Mom-mom, what happens to your body?” I had to chuckle to myself as I thought of the study of Genesis my small group is doing and how we spent a lot of discussion on being formed from earth. I tried to explain this concept to them and how, when we die, our bodies turn back to dust but our soul, who we really are, goes to be with Jesus. These verses from Matthew were fresh in my mind as we talked. I don’t think they quite understood but somehow knowing we are all with Jesus someday satisfied them.
Somehow knowing one day I’ll be with Jesus is what satisfies me as well!
Heavenly Father—we know that death was not part of your original plan. Your love for us is beyond our understanding as you never intended for us to be absent from you. Your plan of redemption through your Son Jesus was always in place. He died the physical death of a man but rose again as our Lord and Savior. Throughout eternity, we will sing praises of gratitude and love. Thank you for loving us so much!