“It is finished.” –John 19:30
“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.” (John 5:25–29 NLT)
Every handful of years, a new book is released detailing some personal story of an individual who purportedly died, went to heaven, and came back to life with the memories of their sojourn through the pearly gates still intact. Some of these claims stand on firmer ground than others, but all of them feed into our curiosity and fascination with life after death. Even Christians fall prey to this desire to find proof that what the Bible says is true, even if the descriptions of heaven in these books better match depictions found in Western culture than they do those in Scripture. Ultimately, these kinds of books are so popular because all of us want to know that death is not the end.
This is why the resurrection is likely the most hope-filled truth out of all of the glorious truths found in Jesus. Through Christ, we are no longer governed by death. All those who have gone before have simply, as Paul writes, “fallen asleep” and will be awoken on the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13–15). In an adaptation of a 1633 poem by John Donne, songwriter Audrey Assad writes, “Death, be not proud, though the whole world fear you: Mighty and dreadful you may seem, but death, be not proud, for your pride has failed you. You will not kill me.” Spend time in worship today of the God who has so soundly defeated death that we can joyously echo the final words of John Donne’s poem, “Death, thou shalt die.”