Lessons Of A Lifetime

Too Afraid To Ask
An Eternal Understanding Of Death
Sunday Nov. 29, 2020

Scripture To Consider:
“Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and Jesus did not want anyone to know it. For He taught His disciples and said to them, ‘The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed He will rise the third day.’ But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.”

“Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, ‘What was it you discussed among yourselves on the road?’ But they kept silent, for on the road that had discussed among themselves who would be the greatest. And Jesus sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’                                                                                                                                   Mark 9.30-35

Something To Consider:
Matthew, Mark, and Luke record this conversation that Jesus had with His disciples as He traveled through Galilee. We have chosen Mark’s record because it is the most concise of the three gospel accounts concerning this event. Both Mark and Luke wrote that the disciples did not understand what Jesus was attempting to teach them concerning His resurrection from the grave on the third day after being killed.

Matthew recorded that the disciples were exceedingly sorrowful. Either way, Mark revealed that they were afraid to ask Jesus anything regarding the rising from the dead. The subject of death is something that most people are not comfortable speaking about. It is a subject that Christians need not fear, but rather should seek to obtain a clear spiritual understanding of.

David wrote in Psalm 23.4; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You [Lord] are with me; Your rod and Your staff [symbols of a good shepherd], they comfort me.” Notice David acknowledged, “…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

For the true born again, present tense believer in Jesus; when the time of death comes, we walk through the valley or the experience of death. We do not remain in a state of death. Like Jesus, our eternal example, we too will rise from the dead at the great and final trumpet sound.

That is, unless we are alive at the coming of the Lord. And if so, we will see Him coming in great power and majesty with all the holy angels. What is it that you and I are anticipating? The fear of death should not be among the list!

Something Else To Consider:
Yes, in our text the disciples were too afraid to ask Jesus what He meant concerning being killed and raising to life the third day. But it was a totally different story after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. It was then that Peter and the other disciples finally realized the importance and eternal significance of Jesus’ speaking about His rising from the dead.

It was the resurrection of Jesus spoken of during Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost that prompted about three thousand souls to be added to the early church. Then they came to understand the importance of Jesus rising from the dead. Their words became powerful and were delivered with complete confidence and assurance, though earlier they did not understand and were too afraid to ask Jesus what it was that He meant concerning His rising from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ soon became the central and most powerful theme of the early church’s preaching and teaching. Why then, is the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the saints not proclaimed more in this 21st century? Why is the teaching concerning death and our being eternally prepared for death not taught more? Human nature renders us too afraid to ask!

David declared in Psalm 116.15; “Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints.” Yet, many even among believers are too afraid to ask the difficult questions concerning death. According to Jesus in Matthew 10.28; “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him [God] who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.”

Something More To Consider:
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up and announced under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; which God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

Over a dozen other verses in the New Testament testify to the fact that the disciples finally understood the meaning of Jesus rising from the dead. But the important question to be asked is, do we understand the significance of the resurrection of Jesus? If for whatever reason we do not understand, let us not be as the disciples that day, too afraid to ask the Lord to teach us. For our faith or our lack of faith rises and falls on how we answer this question.

In other words, life in Christ requires an eternal understanding of death. The apostle Paul had an eternal understanding of death and shared that biblical perspective with us in 1 Corinthians 15.53. “For this corruptible [fleshly body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [earthly being] must put on immortality [an eternal understanding of death].”

Paul followed up by stating in verse 54; “So when this corruptible [fleshly body] has put on incorruption [by walking through the valley of the shadow of death], and this mortal [earthly being] has put on immortality [has entered into eternity with Christ], then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written [in Isaiah 25.8]: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”

A Few Final Words:
Finally, in and through death, for the true believer, there is an eternal victory to be claimed and to be experienced! John affirmed in Revelation 21.4; “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes [those who through death have entered into eternity]; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things [earthly things] have passed away.”

Therefore, all of Christianity’s hope and help rests safely and firmly on the prophecy, promise, and fulfillment of Jesus Christ the Son of Man having been successfully raised from the dead by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus, by His own words is our eternal example. “For He taught His disciples and said to them, ‘The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.’

Our Father in heaven, help us to fully understand the powerful picture that the resurrection of Jesus presents to every generation. In Him Always, Amen!

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