#17 Redeeming Death

Dear Good Sam Family,

Few things are more negative than “death.” Death is seen as the end of something—the end of life, bringing with it much defeat and bitterness. Death is to be avoided at all costs.

But the Bible, at times, tells a different story:

“You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” (1 Cor. 15:36).

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

Death brings life, or it at least has that potential.

In many ways, this is the very journey of Lent: death to life. Just as the food we eat must first die in order to sustain our life, so the old self (apart from Christ) must die daily to give birth to the new self. We put to death our self-centeredness and we are raised to life in Jesus. We deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. Death brings life.

Death is a looming and scary thing. But the love of God toward us in Christ compels us not to be afraid of death and what it will cost us. God held nothing back, but rather, gave up his own Son for us. Surely he will also return to us life abundantly. And that abundant life is this: gaining Jesus, being with and following him. The process of dying to ourselves and our own agenda helps us to locate our treasure (life, joy, purpose) in Jesus. Lent reminds us that true life is found in Jesus.

When the seed of God – Jesus – fell into the ground and died, he became not just our creator but our redeemer and our seed of life. As we die to ourselves we get more of him and in turn more of who we are created to be. When you truly grasp the death of Jesus, when the truth and beauty of all that Jesus gave up for you sinks into your life, you will joyfully give up all you have to follow him. (Adapted from Journey To The Cross).

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died

My richest gain I count but loss And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

[ISAAC WATTS]

Talk to the Lord about the following questions:

  • What attitudes, desires, and tendencies toward self-centeredness are present in your life that you need to put to death?
  • In what areas of your life are you unwilling to give up control in order to follow Jesus?
  • What would God have you do this passion week in order to prepare the way for the joy of resurrection that awaits you on Sunday?

I love & miss you all.

Yours in Christ,

Tod