(Psephizo) Richard Bauckham–Facing death with Easter hope

Optimism cannot deal with death, but God has dealt with it. The apostle Paul, because his whole approach to life was based on the belief that God had raised the dead Jesus to new life, was able to say: “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor powers, not height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38). I should like to encourage anyone who has not thought seriously before about the Christian hope for life beyond death, and its foundation in the resurrection of Jesus, to do so now. I remember, many years ago, an acquaintance who was a believing Christian but could not believe that there was anything beyond death. I lent her John Baillie’s book And the Life Everlasting, which spoke to her difficulties, and she completely changed her mind. Not so long afterwards she died. She was able to go into the experience of dying with, not only an assurance of the love of God with her, but also the knowledge that God’s love does not let go of us when we die, but holds onto us and welcomes us into a new future in his presence.

In the present crisis, there will be many people who suffer the death of a loved one. There will also be many who, perhaps for the first time, face up to the prospect of their own death, whenever it may come. All of us would do well to ponder the extraordinary character of Easter hope, which goes far beyond our ordinary hopes. All of our ordinary hopes are defeated by death, but in the resurrection of Jesus God has defeated death and removed the pall that death casts over all of life.


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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Eschatology, Health & Medicine