Summary: In the world today about 56,597,034 people die a year. Which works out to approximately 155,000 people a day, 6458 an hour, and 108 people a minute. Which means every second 2 people die. For every breath you take approximately seven people have died. Dea
In the world today about 56,597,034 people die a year. Which works out to approximately 155,000 people a day, 6458 an hour, and 108 people a minute. Which means every second 2 people die. For every breath you take approximately seven people have died. Death is everywhere, and it happens to everyone.
This week I took a walk through a graveyard in Ann Arbor. It’s one of my favorites. Graves are all around you. Some are extravagant others are simple, but every one of them marks the same thing a person who was born, who lived, and now has died. This one in particular has a few graves I always like to visit. It has one tombstone on which is engraved what is possibly the most evil sounding name I have ever heard. “Slitler Weingar.” There are others with statues of angels, and many that are only half finished. One person lies there and their spouse has a name written with a year of birth, but a blank space for a death year.
There are few things as sobering as having your grave already picked out. I can’t imagine what it would be like to sit in front of a grave and know that someday, maybe soon that date will be filled in and you will live just six feet below where you stand for the rest of time.
When I was in Denmark I spent a lot of time in graveyards. I went and visited Hans Christian Anderson, and then went and saw Kierkegaard These were men who moved and directed human imagination and thought throughout the whole world and I found myself alone beside them with no one around. No matter how great you are you will die. Death is nothing special it is nothing new.
Today the Christian church remembers the death of Jesus. We call it Good Friday. Many of you probably went to a service today where the story of Christ’s brutal execution was retold. I’ve gone to many of these services over the years. Protestant, Catholic, this week I even went to a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ service. We all remember the death of Jesus.
Why was Jesus’ death special?
There is no other death that is so widely honored.
It has been featured in movies, incorporated into books, and remembered in songs (including a few of my own).
But Jesus’ death was nothing special apart from his life.
The power of the crucifixion is in the life that it ended.
The word passion is rooted in the Latin word patior- to suffer.
The thing about the passion of the Christ is that it didn’t really start in the garden of Gethsemane. It started in the manger.
Have you seen the Film? Have you read the gospels? On Good Friday we see the life of Jesus lived out powerfully. He was poor in spirit, he mourned and he was comforted. He was humble, gentile, and submissive unto death, the portrait of a meek servant. He was filled with righteousness, and was merciful, even to those who came to take his life. He saw God, his father, and his heart was pure. In the midst of violence he brought peace. And he was persecuted even to the point of death.
Does this sound failure? It should. It was the kind of life Jesus talked about in Matthew Chapter 5.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The message of the passion is more then you were saved through Jesus’ death. The message of the passion also tells Christians that you were part of Jesus’ death. In Galatians 2:20 Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ.”
Through faith we are united to Christ in his death.
And it’s a death that that we are called to every day. Paul emphasizes this again in 1 Corinthians 15:31 where he tells us that he dies everyday. That is our call, to offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
What is a sacrifice? “Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.”
We were bought at a High price, the life of Jesus. We are called to live a life that reflects the price that was paid, the life of Jesus.