I was reading a blog the other day and the writer pointed out that today even the poor have access to healthcare which was not available to kings and the wealthiest of people 100 years ago. Diseases which were incurable then are treated and cured routinely now.
Regardless of how much progress the medical profession has made. There is still one thing for which nobody has found a cure. That thing is death. It’s not for lack of trying. Overcoming death or the hope that we’ll at least find a way to extend life has been on people’s minds throughout history. Lots of people have gone on quests to find the fountain of youth. If you read science fiction it’s amazing how often the idea of eliminating death shows up in the stories. People send me emails all the time about these miraculous pills which will stop the aging process.
All of these attempts to somehow find away around death are doomed to failure. Those seeking a cure for death do not understand its cause. They are looking for a physical cure to a spiritual problem. They are trying to treat a symptom instead of dealing with what caused the disease. Death came to our world as a result of sin. As long as sin is with us, death will be with us also.
Is there no hope, then? The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision depicting the people of Israel of his day as a bunch of dry bones. He writes, “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life…”’” (Ezekiel 37:1-7 NIV)
What is impossible for man is possible for God. The One who gave us life to begin with can give us life again.
Not only can God cure death, for those of us who belong to Christ, He already has. Just as Ezekiel saw those dry bones come to life again, we who belong to Christ also experience new life. It’s a two-stage process. First God gives us spiritual life. In Ephesians 2:4-6 the Apostle Paul writes, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (NIV)
Not only do we have a new spiritual life now, we also have God’s promise of eternal life in a resurrected body. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15:19-23, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” (NIV)
The cure for death was not easy or without cost. Jesus had to die so that we might live. That’s what we’re here to remember. The bread we eat represents His physical body – the body He gave so we might receive a new, resurrected body. The juice we drink represents His blood – the blood He gave which gives us life.
We’re also here to celebrate. Yes, unless Christ returns first, we will die. But death is not the end. Jesus has already given us the cure. We will live forever.