You’ve seen cartoons of the Grim Reaper, haven’t you? Artists depict his skeletal figure as clad in a black hooded cloak, carrying a scythe, waiting to reap his next victim (for the history of the figure see here).
If you read the news, the Grim Reaper is all over the headlines. There are riots and shootings and beatings and the virus. Politically speaking, people are set at each other’s throats, and it’s as though we’re all under the threat of an imminent, painful, and violent death—unless, of course, we give up our freedoms to the control of the wise and benevolent State.
Now, the truth is, we are appointed once to die (Heb 9:27). And what the Grim Reaper symbolizes is naturally scary. But should fear of death overwhelm your life? The Grim Reaper is a scary symbol, but I know Someone Who, as William Fischer puts it, is “the antithesis of the Grim Reaper” (Christian Freedom, p. 68). Jesus. Here are three differences.
First, Jesus isn’t a skeleton—He was raised from the dead in His flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).
Second, Jesus isn’t dressed in the black robes of death, but in the pure white robes of holiness and transfigured glory (cf. Mark 9:2–4)—although there will come a time when He’ll be wearing red (cf. Rev 19:13).
Third, and most importantly of all, instead of wanting to take your life, He wants to give it to you—
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Jesus makes all things new, including how believers see death itself:
“Jesus Christ and his redeeming work, confirmed by his resurrection from the dead, have given us an entirely new outlook on life and death” (Christian Freedom, p. 67).
Our culture needs that new outlook now more than ever.