God hates death.
Even so, in Christ, God transformed death to make it part of His ministry. This quote from Andy Root struck me: “The movement through death to life is the very shape of God’s ministry” (Root, Christopraxis, p. 105). How has the movement from death to life become the shape of God’s ministry?
I think about how Jesus’ conversation with Martha in John 11 illustrates it. Jesus met with Martha four days after her brother Lazarus died.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again” (v 23).
Martha did not immediately understand what Jesus meant:
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (v 24).
She assumed He was referring to the general resurrection of the dead, the one that Job and Daniel referred to (Job 19:25-26; Dan 12:2). But that was not quite what Jesus meant.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life” (v 25a).
Martha was thinking of resurrection as a future event, but Jesus pointed to Himself. He is the event.
Jesus is the resurrection.
That is how the very shape of God’s ministry is “the movement through death to life.” Resurrection presupposes death. Instead of letting death have the last word, Jesus died on the cross and then moved through death to life by rising from the dead on the third day. And that became His ministry to us. Christ’s pattern of death–to–resurrection is one followed by all believers who die:
“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?” (vv 25b-26).
Even if a believer dies physically, as Lazarus did, and as Martha later would, he or she will live again. Did she believe that?
If you go on to read v 27, you know she did. But unlike Martha, many people in and outside of Christendom are not so sure. They do not believe in Jesus for everlasting salvation and are not certain what will happen to them after they die. They hope they will live forever with God, but they doubt it, too.
If that describes you, instead of thinking of the resurrection as something that happens in the future, know He is Someone offering you everlasting life right now. Instead of hoping for a good outcome sometime after death, put your faith in Jesus for the life He promises you today.