St. Matthew Lutheran Church-LCMS
Pastor David Mohr
This is the only world we know. It is the only life we know. So we tend to obsess about it. We act like young children who live in one house in one town. Children like that have difficulty imagining life anywhere else. We are like that. How can we live in a way that is different than this life and this world? This becomes plain when I ask people this simple question, "Would you prefer to go to a world without sin or pain, a world where you will see the mother and father you miss so much, the husband or wife you miss so much, or would you rather stay here and suffer your debilitating illness for several more years?" This is kind of a loaded question, don't you think? You know how every single person has ever answered? Of course you do. Everyone has told me they prefer to stay here. Think about that. In the most crass terms, they love this life and world better than the mothers, fathers, spouses and good friends who have left this world.
I suspect this is why God does not give you a choice. Death is, in a way, His kicking you out of this world you know so well, into the great, bit and slightly scary, world to come. For those of you who grew up in one place your entire life, it is like that day you left home. Exciting, yes, but also a bit nerve wracking.
Jesus has a bit of an advantage on us in this case. As He told Nicodemus, "no one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man" (John 3:18). We have no idea what to expect after we die. Jesus knows exactly. After all, He made the heaven and earth and He knows what the new heaven and new earth will be like. Sometimes I wish He would give us a few more details. The fact that he does not may mean that He wants to trust Him to do the best by us. So Jesus, as He faced His death had an advantage in that He knew what came next.
That brings us to the great, huge and gigantic disadvantage that Jesus when He considered His death. When you die, you die. Tat is it. When Jesus died, He suffered the punishment for every human that had or will live. Even more, He knew exactly what that meant. That is why He asked His Father if there was any other way. Nobody would ever want to go through a death like His.
As we move towards Good Friday, remember, you have a savior who went ahead of you. Jesus has died and rose again so that you too, die you die, will rise again also. Jesus gives you a few words of comfort. "let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14: 1-3). You have a savior who went before you to prepare a way. Once we finally get to heaven, I suspect we will look back and say to each other, "That wasn't as bad as I expected." Well, that is then. For now, we remain here, trusting in the one who died for us so that we receive eternal life.