In these last few weeks, virtually the only topic of conversation from anyone has been the threat of COVID-19. “Why, people are dying! That’s how serious this is!” Now, for most people in the world who fear death above all things, it is only natural to be terrified of this virus. “After all,” they think to themselves, “I could die!” There are a lot of statistics being thrown around, but the one bad-news statistic that has not changed since Adam ate of the forbidden fruit is that we all die. If you are reading these words, you will surely die. It is the one statistic that is exactly 100%. Every person ever born dies. One out of one. Ten out of ten. A billion out of a billion. The chance that you will die of COVID-19 is very minute, but the chance that you will die is 100%. It is dead certain.
No amount of social distancing and no face mask or gloves or ventilator or vaccine will change the statistics. No amount of money can be spent or accumulated that will change the statistics in the slightest degree, nor will the most strident denial of the facts. Your death is certainly coming and there is nothing that you can do to prevent it.
So, if people have this strange obsession to talk about threats that terrify them, wouldn’t it make sense to face the one that is certain to occur, rather than the “threat of the day” that poses such a minute threat?
What I am saying is this: The real and universal threat to everyone is DEATH. If you think about it, this is true even for the dreaded COVID-19, for while this disease is certainly unpleasant, the real threat of this is not that it is unpleasant, but that there is a possible outcome of death. So, again, the universal threat is DEATH.
Now that we have exposed death as the real threat, is there anything that we can do about it? In other words, are we any better off now than we were? What have we gained by identifying the real threat? We have, indeed, gained nothing by naming death as the threat IF we still can find no answer to death. But if, by exposing death as the universal human threat, we have been opened up to questions and possibilities that we previously refused or were unable to consider, then we have indirectly made a huge leap forward.
What am I saying? I am saying that you and I must find an answer to the threat of death before death takes us away. And since there is an urgency to our search (there is a DEADline, so to speak), then I am willing to ask questions like, “Is there any answer anywhere to this threat of death?” “Where can I turn for answers, even if it is to explore outrageous claims and long-shot possibilities?”
It is at this point that we must turn our attention to the Bible, and we must focus our eyes on Jesus Christ. The Bible declares that it is only in the Person of Jesus Christ that we can find an answer to death. We tremble at the thought of the grave, but when we read of Jesus, we read of one who had the power to lay His life down and then to pick it up again (John 10:17-18) as one might take off and put on a jacket. We fear death because it is the end of our life, but Jesus spoke of eternal life (John 3:16, etc.) and said He was preparing a place for His disciples in heaven (John 14:1-3) that they would receive after they died. Most amazingly of all was that, not only was Jesus completely unafraid of death, but He also talked of His resurrection, when He would rise from the dead (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34), as if death wasn’t final but was merely the end of physical life. Jesus claimed to have power over death, and history has carefully documented the fact that, while Jesus publicly died by crucifixion, and while many attested to His death, Jesus’ grave is empty. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is the only human being who has ever conquered DEATH.
But there is more. Not only has Jesus Christ Himself conquered the grave, but He promises His disciples that they, too, will live beyond the grave. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26). Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also (John 14:19).” The good news is that Jesus Christ has defeated death on behalf of all who put their trust in Him. When we fear the threat of death, we must turn to Christ and He will protect us.
SDG rmb 4/8/2020