Matters of Faith: The Upside of Death

By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

John 17:20-26 (v.24) – CEV
“I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me. I have honored my followers in the same way you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. I am one with them, and you are one with me, so they may become completely one. Then this world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me. Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created. Good Father, the people of this world don’t know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me. I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.‬‬”

We have all lived in the shadow of death all of our lives. At any moment, on any day, we can go from time to eternity. We live in temporary tents that we call bodies. We were not designed to live forever. In fact, the Bible says three score years and ten, or if by reason of strength, we may see 80 years of life. Whether long or short, we live in the shadow of death all the days of our lives.

This would be very depressing had it not been for the sacrifice and triumph that we celebrate today.

Today is the day that has been set aside to remember and celebrate the greatest day in Christianity — the Resurrection of Christ. That single event changed the course of history whether you believe it happened or not. For those of us who do believe, we are encouraged by Jesus’ prayer. Without debating the presumption of the triune God, I point out that in Jesus’ prayer, He asks the Father to allow His followers to forever be with Him. In chapter 14, Jesus said that He is going to prepare a place for us, and will come back to receive us to Himself so that where He is, we will be there also (John 14:2-3).

This is promised to all believers at the moment we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is authenticated and proven when Jesus Christ got up from the grave. Don’t take my word for it. I’ve got proof. When Martha’s brother Lazarus died, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John‬ ‭11:25-26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬). ‬‬

Our earthly bodies will be replaced; “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Corinthians‬ ‭5:1). They won’t be flesh and blood, not clay jars, or fabricated tents, but supernatural bodies not made by hands, eternal houses that will never groan or sigh, get sick or die. Our new body will be like the body of the resurrected Christ. ‬

Immediately after Jesus prayed His high, priestly prayer, He was led away to be crucified. On that Friday, He shed His blood and washed away our sins! He died on that old rugged cross so we could live! He was buried in a borrowed tomb so our sins could be covered! Then, on Sunday morning, He rose from the grave to break the chains of death, eliminating the sting of death, snatching the victory out of death’s hand, and making sure that we’re not swallowed up by death! That is what I call the Upside of Death.

“The death of people whom we love Brings sorrow and deep pain; But if our loved ones know the Lord, Our loss becomes their gain.” – Sper

Make it a blessed Resurrection Sunday +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email