Every language has a way of talking about death in a way that makes a normally serious or unpleasant subject not quite so intense. For instance, Glen tells us that in Zimbabwe when someone dies, they say he or she is “late”.
- Africaans – Hy het sy oë toe gemaak vir die laaste keer – He closed his eyes for the last time.
- Finnish – Heittää lusikka nurkkaan– To throw a spoon in the corner.
- Greek – έσβησε το καντήλι του– His candle was extinguished.
- French – Fermer son parapluie— To close one’s umbrella.
- Cantonese – 去咗賣鹹鴨蛋。– Have gone to sell salty duck eggs.
We have our own euphemisms in English – bite the dust, bought the farm, cash in your chips, crossing over to the other side, give up the ghost, kick the bucket, pushing up daisies.
Yet somehow on “Good Friday” we talk openly about the horror of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Bible describes for us the betrayal, denial, and desertion of Jesus’ closest friends and followers. We read about the hard hearted and manipulative religious officials of the day. We read about the travesty of justice by corrupt and spineless Roman officials. The Bible goes on to describe in great detail the mocking and sickening torture of the innocent one. It’s hard to read and troubling to think about.
Even Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:27–28) Jesus knew what was before him and yet understood there was a bigger story going on with the events that Friday. That Friday was only “good” because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.
Jesus also knew that death was not the end of the story. The angels had to remind his followers Jesus had told them he would rise on the third day. Even after he appeared to them in the flesh, they still had a hard time believing it was true. We’ll look at the process those early disciples went through to come to grips with the heartbreak of the crucifixion and the mind-boggling reality of Jesus coming back from the dead. Just like them, many people find it hard to grasp the vast implications of what the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ means for each of us. And the same factors that make it difficult to step out on faith initially can come back and shake us at any point along the faith journey.
But Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24
Are you ready to “cross over”? Are you ready to KEEP “crossing over” until you reach the other side? Keep on!
He is Risen!