God: What Happens after I Die? Job 14:14; 2 Cor. 5:1-8
1. Have you ever heard the expression, ''the elephant in the room?'' this expression refers to a situation where something major is going on. Everybody knows it. It is impossible to ignore, like an elephant in a room, but nobody talks about the ''elephant'' because nobody really knows what to do about it.
2. The elephant in the room, that we live with every day of our lives, is death. One of the things you will learn as you grow older is that the elephant in the room called ''death'' gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
*** Paul Azinger learned this the hard way.
1. Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit. He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I'm going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It's just a question of when." Before, Azinger lived for golf. No more. Now all he wanted to do was live!
2. One day in the early stages of the panic following his diagnosis, Azinger remember some words he had once heard in a Bible study. "We're not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying, "the teacher had said, "We're in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living." That reality led him to a living hope through faith in Jesus Christ.
3. Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from chemotherapy and returned to the PGA tour. But the bout with cancer changed his perspective. He would later write, "I've learned that happiness is only temporary. The only way to true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I'm not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don't have problems, but I feel like I've found the answer to the six-foot hole."
4. Until we find the answers to the six-foot hope, we don't know the facts of life. The most important lessons in life are wrapped-up in three short statements: Life is short. Death is certain. Eternity is forever.
3. The truth is most of us live, not like we were dying, but like we are going to live forever. Yes, we know we are going to die, because we know everybody dies, but nobody wants to talk about. Until old age or sickness forces the issue, we don't want to think about it.
4. Even the way we talk about it tells us how big this elephant is. We call it things like ''biting the dust'', ''buying the farm'', ''kicking the bucket'', or ''joining the angels.'' yet, when we are faced with it either personally or when a friend or a loved one dies, there is the question that comes to mind that is as old as civilization itself. In fact, it is found in what bible scholars believe is the oldest book of the bible - the book of job. We know that thousands of years ago, people were already asking this question Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Is death a period in the sentence of life or is it just a comma?
5. The reason why it is such an important question for us is because there is something that every life has in common with a street, a book, and a movie and that is they all have endings. Your life has an ending just as surely as it had a beginning. Your heart has only so many beats and then it will beat no more. Your lungs only have so many breaths and then they will breathe no more.
1 Sam 20:3, “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”
*** As the cowboys use to put it, ''when you come to the end of the trail'', ''when you reach the end of the journey'', when you finally make that inevitable move that every person in history has made, or will make, from the cradle to the casket, the question is, ''Is there something more?''
6. There are a lot of competing answers to this question. Atheists believe that at death you just simply cease to exist. I was talking to a man not long ago who, if he lives, will be ninety this year. He believes that when you die you are just dead. There is no afterlife, and no eternal soul that continues in eternity.
***Ellen Johnson, who is the president of the organization known as ''American Atheists'' put it this way: ''the atheist accepts the reality that when you die that is the end. That is it. Therefore, when you are living life is all we can ever know. We can't know death. Death is a nonsense word, so we have to do our part now to make this a better life for ourselves and for the rest of humanity and all of the life on this planet. The only fulfillment, the only joy, the only happiness you will ever know is right now. Now is the time to do your part and to enjoy life.''
*** Many eastern and new-age religions hold to a pantheist view that teaches that you just simply go through an endless cycle of re-incarnation until the cycle is broken and you finally become one with some supernatural force. What form a person is in the next life depends on the quality lived in the previous life. They believe, for example, if you live the best life you know how to live in this life, then when you die, you will come back in the next life as a bulldog! Finally, you will unite with this supernatural force and you will be just like a drop of water that returns to the ocean.
*** Islam teaches that at the end of history, God will judge the works of all man and those whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds will enter into paradise and the rest will be consigned to hell.
7. Today, I am obviously going to be sharing with you the Christian answer to the question, but there is a difference. Most world views, who accept some belief in the afterlife do so on untested faith. In other words, they really don't have a reason to believe what they believe. The reason the Christian believes what he believes about life after death is two-fold: the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the testimony of the word of God. The bible gives us not only a view, but I believe the true view of what happens after death. However, in talking to many Christians, I find even they have a misunderstanding of what does happen after death.
8. Therefore, I am going to assume there is life after death. If you are one of those that don't believe there is life after death, you will find out there is one second after you die or you may find out before you die.
*** I heard about a guy who called in to his boss and said he couldn't go to work that day, because he had to go to his grandmother's funeral. The next morning at work his boss came up to him and said, ''do you believe in life after death?'' the man, with a puzzled look, said, ''yes, I do.'' the boss said, ''that sure makes me feel a whole lot better.'' the man said, ''why? What are you talking about?'' the boss said, ''yesterday after you called to tell me you couldn't come to work, because you were attending your grandmother's funeral, she stopped by to visit you!''
9. What does happen after I die? That same question was being asked in the early church and a man named Paul, who was what we call an ''apostle'' was given a word from God that he passed on to us about life before death, death, and life after death. We are going to learn today that as followers of Christ - key take away: death takes us away from our body into the presence of God.
I. Death does end physical life 2 Cor 5:1
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Cor. 5:1)
1. It is interesting that the Bible describes the body that we live in as a house. I am looking right now at a bunch of houses. I am looking at some big houses. I am looking at some tall houses. I am looking at some beautiful houses. I am looking at a few shacks!
2. It is important that you not confuse you with your house. Your body is not you; it is just the house you live in. In a real sense, people don't get sick, bodies get sick. People don't grow old; bodies grow old. It is like where a family lives. What does a family do? It makes a home in a house. There is a difference between a house and a home. You can have a house and not have a home inside the house, but everyone who has a home needs a house to put it in.
3. This is exactly what Paul meant in 2 Cor. 4:16. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” The outer man that he is talking about there is referring to our body. He says the outer man is ''decaying.'' if you think about it that is exactly what houses do.
4. Houses decay. They grow old. Over time things begin to fall apart. A great example is that the paint begins to fall off. Eventually, you've got to put a new coat of paint on that old house or it will look old.
*** Women can especially relate to this, because nobody is more meticulous and more concerned about repainting the house than the ladies are. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with that at all. I know there are some people who believe it is a sin for women to wear makeup. I believe it is a sin if some women don't!
*** You know you are getting older
1. The twinkle in your eye is only the reflection of the sun on your bifocals. ￼ ￼
2. You finally got your head together, now your body is falling apart.
3. You don't care where your wife goes, just so you don't have to go along. ￼
4. It takes twice as long to look half as good.
5. The clothes you've put away until they come back in style... have come back in style.
6. ￼Your mind makes contracts your body can't keep. ￼
7. The pharmacist has become your new best friend.
8.￼There's nothing left to learn the hard way. ￼
9. You come to the conclusion that your worst enemy is gravity. ￼
10. You start video taping daytime game shows. ￼
11. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room. ￼
12. Your ears are hairier than your head. ￼
6. The truth is you can repaint the house, refinish the house, refurbish the house, strengthen the hinges, or you can replace the doors, but this old house is still going to decay, because God built decay into this house. Do you know why? He doesn't want us to settle down in this house, because he has a far better house prepared for us on the other side of death.
*** I hear people talk all the time about, how, as they grow older, they don't recover from injury as quickly as they used to or they hurt more than they used to and they have more physical problems than they used to. There is not a person here who has not at one time or another groaned or complained either about an injury that they had or the way they felt or a pain in their back or a headache or some other kind of discomfort in their body. Let me give you some good news. You are just being biblical when you do that.
7. Listen to 2 Cor 5:2, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” As you grow older, you are going to find it more difficult, not to complain about this old house because the house will begin to hurt. It will get creaky, it will start falling apart, it will grow old, and it will decay.
8. There is a simple reason for this. The body is temporary. When someone is buried it doesn't matter how well they are embalmed. If you give that body long enough and open that casket do you know what you are going to find? Dust. Eccl 3:20, “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” We came from dust and we are going to return to dust.
*** There was a little boy who came running downstairs one night scared to death. His mother said, ''what's wrong?'' the little boy said, ''mother, didn't the preacher say yesterday that the body comes from dust?'' she said, ''yes.'' he said, ''didn't he also say that one day the body will go back to dust?'' she said, ''yes.''
1. He said, ''mom, you had better come upstairs quick and look under my bed, because somebody is either coming or going!''
***You may not realize this, but doctors say that every three years all of the cells on your body die and they are replaced by new cells. In other words, every three years we (in essence) get a brand new body. There is a turnover in cells. One day, the old cells will die forever and they won't be turned over, they will be turned under. This body will begin to return back to dust and finally disappear. It is God's way of letting us know that death does end physical life.
II. Death does not end spiritual life 2 Cor. 5:1, 4, 5-8
1. Let's examine the exact moment that a person dies. I mean all breathing stops, there is no brainwave activity, there is no sight, no hearing, and no speech - the body is completely dead. At that moment, the body stays on planet earth, because the body died. Listen carefully. The person inside that body did not die, because the person inside the body and the body outside the person are two different things.
2. Let me illustrate it this way. If you had spiritual x-ray vision, not where you could see through walls or trees or rocks, but where you could see through you, if you had a mirror, you would see your body on the outside, but you would see the real you on the inside.
3. That is why Paul distinguishes in vs. 1 between the earthly body that we have now that will die and the new resurrection body that we will receive one day that will never die.2 Cor 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
4. Even though our body, here, is an earthly house, one day we are going to have a body that will be our eternal home. This house is not my home. I am just passing through literally. One of these days I am going to receive a brand new house - a brand new body. It will be immortal. It will be incorruptible. It will be invincible and it will last forever. It won't have to go to the doctor for a checkup. It won't have to have blood work. It won't have to take vitamins. It will be a perfect and complete resurrection body.
5. God has a new body for the new you that will leave the old body when the old body dies and that is exactly what Paul says and means in 2 Cor 5:4, “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” Contrary to popular belief we are not going to be just invisible spirits hovering around for all eternity. God, eventually, is going to cloth us (the inward man that resides in that outward body) with a new body that will last forever.
*** A story that I read the other day may help you to understand it.
1. The little boy was walking on the beach and he found a dead sea-gull. He quickly ran over to his mother and pulled her out of the beach chair. He said, ''I want to show you something.'' she walked over to the dead bird and he said, ''what happened to him?'' the mother thought it would be a good teachable moment and she said, ''he died and went to heaven.'' the little boy looked at that lifeless seagull's body for a few moments and then said, ''and then God threw him back!''
2. In one sense, the little boy was right. God leaves your old body here because he has no more use for it and neither do you, but he has a new body for the new you that enters into eternity.
7. Paul gets to the crux of the matter and tells us what happens to all of us who are followers of Christ the split second, the instant that we die. 2 Cor 5:5-8, “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
8. Paul says there is no such thing as soul sleep, no such thing as a temporary state of unconsciousness, and no purgatory. He says it very plainly that when your body dies, you immediately enter into the presence of God. What is absent from the body and is present with the Lord is your spirit - your soul.
A. There is no such thing as a “redo” or reincarnation. Heb 9:27
*** Three buddies were discussing death and one asked the group: "What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?" The first one responded, "I'd like them to say 'He was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community.'" The friend who initiated the conversation replied "I'd like them to say 'He was a great husband and father, who was an example for many to follow.'" They nodded in agreement and looked to the third buddy who'd been silent. Without hesitation he concluded, "I'd like them to say 'Look, he's moving!!'"
Heb 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Death is a part of life.
*** In 1969, a research psychologist named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross changed the way people talk about death and dying. Her research methods left a lot to be desired. None the less, her stage theory has affected the way all of us think about the last days of life. Based on interviews with dying hospital patients, Kubler-Ross contended that people go through five emotional stages as they near life's end. Those grieving the death of someone else often experience the same.
1. First, they live in denial. Not me! I am going to wake up and it will all be a bad dream. When reality sets in, anger takes over. A person cries out to God, "Why me?" Patients will often turn on their family, nurses or doctors. Fortunately, the anger only lasts for a season.
2. Bargaining soon follows. This is often a secret stage. A patient will pray to live long enough to see some event. He may promise all kinds of good if only God will allow them to live.
3. The bargaining seldom lasts long. Soon depression takes over. Reality sets in. The person begins to mourn past losses, past opportunities and all of the things that will never be. The fifth and final stage doesn't always come.
4. When it does, the depression gives way to acceptance. Some fight until the very end. Others accept the inevitability of death. Sometimes this is resignation, a giving way to hopeless and even deeper form of despair. But for others, this acceptance means hope that goes beyond the grave. That is a good thing to behold.
1. If I mess up, I'll get a do over. Golfers may get "mulligan." Batters get three strikes. But note how that verse stated it, "It is appointed to man to die once!" This life is not a test. It is not a practice drill. This is for real. We get one shot.
2. Reincarnation is a key doctrine of the Eastern religion of Hinduism. According to this notion, when a person dies his or her soul is recycled in some kind of new life form. When you die, you might come back as a tree, or a fly, or a cow, or a king, or a beggar. We have all heard interviews with Shirley McClain or other celebrities of dubious sanity waxing eloquent about their former reincarnated lives. Some can sound very convincing. Of course, Madam Cleo the Caribbean psychic will sound convincing for $9.95 a minute also. If you want convincing, I am sure you can find someone willing to sell you swamp land in Florida or an ocean front view in Arizona. Just because you hear it on TV, read about it in the latest edition of the supermarket tabloid or find that your favorite movie star believes it doesn't make it true.
3. Proponents seldom tell the whole truth about the doctrine of reincarnation. In Hindu teaching reincarnation is bad. It is a part of the rule of karma that traps your soul in a prison of flesh until finally you earn enough spiritual points to be released into eternal nothingness. Reincarnation is part of a religious system that has no heaven and offers no forgiveness. All reincarnation offers is an on going enslavement to self-salvation and a promise of nothingness. Surely you want better than that!
B. The Bible does not teach “Purgatory or Proxy baptism.”
1. Certain religious groups propose a non-biblical doctrine called "purgatory"-and after death existence in which a person can in some way or another pay for the mistakes of the past life and be purified for the heavenly home that everyone desires. The doctrine also proposes ways that living loved ones of the departed can speed the process of purgatory along. Special gifts to the church, candles lit and prayers offered, and masses sponsored in the name of the deceased all promise a quicker release from purgatory to heaven.
2. This option is built on the false premise that we must atone for our own sins, that what Jesus accomplished on the cross in our behalf was just the beginning. The truth of the Bible is that you cannot pay for your own sins or your loved in this life or any life to come. But best of all, the Bible teaches that you don't have to because Jesus has already done it. Your account before heaven is marked "paid in full." It is yours for the asking-by faith in Christ Jesus alone! The notion of a second chance after death is unbiblical and unnecessary!
3. One is the doctrine of purgatory. A few religious groups teach that when people die they receive an opportunity to make up for sins in the afterlife. One version is based on a passage from the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees (one of those extra books in the Catholic Bible). Actually, the passage never speaks of purgatory. It only refers to praying for and offering sacrifices for the dead. From that to the doctrine of purgatory is huge stretch.
4. The Mormon doctrine of "proxy baptism" is a similar notion. It offers hope that a person who dies in unbelief can be saved by the faith and actions of believing relative later. That concept is totally foreign to the Bible. The bottom line: we are appointed once to die and then the judgment.
The truth is, unless Jesus comes first, we will al die once. No second chances. No do overs. This is not a test. Life is for real.
C. The Bible does teach instant access in Heaven or Hell
1. I want to make sure there is no confusion here. Don't confuse the house with the occupant that lives in the house. When my body dies, my spirit immediately goes to be with Jesus Christ. We see this all through scripture. When the lord Jesus died, he said, ''father into your hands I commit my spirit.'' the lord Jesus said to the thief on the cross, even though his body would die that day, ''today, you will be with me in paradise.'' when Stephen was stoned to death, he said as his body died, ''lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'' (acts 7:59, NASB)
*** The comedian, woody Allen, once said, ''I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens.'' I've got news for Woody Allen. In a sense, he won't be there when it happens. 2. One of these days this house is going to collapse like a deck of cards, but I won't be there when it happens. If my body was to drop dead, right now, in the middle of this message, my spirit (the real me) would be with Jesus before my body hit the floor.
*** There was a man who died one time and his name was Solomon peas. On his tombstone they wrote these words: ''beneath these clouds and beneath these trees, lies the body of Solomon peas, but this ain't peas, it's just the pod, peas shelled out and went to God.''
3. This is exactly what happens. We shell out of our body and we go to be with Christ. Death does not end in spiritual life although it does end physical life.
III. Death can end in eternal life 2 Cor. 5:8; Gen. 25:8
1. Keep in mind that Paul is talking primarily to those who know Jesus Christ, who are personal followers of Christ and have a relationship with him. He says in 2 Cor 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
2. We can draw a clear conclusion from that. When you die, you will either go into the presence of God or you will go out of the presence of God. Here is what we learn. Everybody is going to spend eternity somewhere. When anybody dies their soul and spirit will be separated from their physical body. At that moment, your eternal destiny will be determined.
3. If you have trusted in Christ and his death and burial and resurrection to save you then you will enter into eternal life and the presence of God. You will be absent from the body and present with the lord. On the other hand, if you do not know Christ and you do not have a relationship with God, you will immediately be ushered out of his presence to await your final judgment. This happens immediately.
4. We were actually given a clue to this all the way back in the first book of the bible. The first time we are given a detail about an actual death is in Gen 25:8 where we read these words. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.”
3. By the way, wouldn't that be a great way to have your death described? Here is an old man, who died in a ripe old age, breathed his last and is gathered to his people. Notice it doesn't say he went to sleep. It doesn't say he rested. It doesn't say he went to purgatory. He was gathered to his people. Where were his people gathered? His people were gathered in heaven. When a Christian dies he immediately goes to be with the lord and with those of his people who have been gathered to the lord.
4. Do you understand what all of this means? There are two very practical implications that this has for all of us when it comes to dying. First of all, we can face death with dignity. It doesn't matter how the body dies - whether by gunshot, heart attack, plane crash, or terrorist bombing. For those of us who are followers of Christ we know the ultimate outcome.
4. We know that when the body dies, we (our soul, our spirit) that which lasts for all eternity will immediately be in the presence of God.
5. Therefore, the second practical application is - we don't have to fear death. Why do you think God came to planet earth in the form of human flesh to die and to be raised again? Here is the answer. Heb 2:14-15, “ Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood (human beings-made of flesh and blood), he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
*** When Ronald Reagan was president, he was on air force one and it was just after Nancy Reagan's mother had died. He was walking down the aisle and he met a lady who had worked in the white house for several years and as a reward her supervisor allowed her to accompany the president on this trip.
1. The lady looked at the president and noting the sadness in his eyes commented how sorry she was to hear about his mother-in-law's death.
2. President Reagan looked at her and said, ''death hits all of us hard, but I've come to understand that God's plan for each one of us includes the moment of our passing.'' He put his hand on her shoulder and said, ''when the lord closes the door on this life he just opens the door on another and leads us right through.''
3. In that instant, the president was an outstanding theologian, because that is what happens after we die, if, we know Jesus Christ.
A. Our Transformation in the Life to Come. Job 14:14
1. Notice Job 14:14 again, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job asks, "Shall a man live again?" How does he answer? Let me give you Job's answer in good old Tennessee language. He says, "You better believe I will live again. I'm going to live better than I have ever lived. I'm getting ready for a change."
2. Praise God, we shall live again. Praise God, the life to come to will be far superior to the live we now live. In this life we live in a body that subject to disease, death, and decay. But one day we will have a new body that neither disease, death, nor decay can touch.
4. As Paul stated in 2 Cor 5:2, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Shall we live again? Thank God yes! We will not only live again but also live a life that is much greater than the life we have lived. This life is limited, but the next life is eternal. This life is marked by burdens, but the next life is marked by nothing but blessings. We will be absent from the body, but present with the Lord, clothed with a house not made with hands, eternal in nature.
*** Dr. W. A Criswell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas Texas, said on one occasion on an airplane flight he found himself seated beside a well-known theologian.
1. He desperately wanted to start a conversation and they did get to talk. The man told Dr. Criswell about how he had recently lost his little boy through death. Dr. Criswell listened as he told his story: He said he had come home from school with a fever and we thought it was just one of those childhood things, but it was a very virulent form of meningitis. The doctor said we cannot save your little boy. He’ll die.
2. And so this seminary professor, loving his son as he did, sat by the bedside to watch this death vigil. It was the middle of the day and the little boy whose strength was going from him and whose vision and brain was getting clouded said, "Daddy, it’s getting dark isn’t it?" The professor said to his son, "Yes son it is getting dark, very dark." Of course it was very dark for him. He said, "Daddy, I guess it’s time for me to go to sleep isn’t it?"
3. He said, "Yes, son, it’s time for you to go to sleep." The professor said the little fellow had a way of fixing his pillow just so, and putting his head on his hands when he slept and he fixed his pillow like that and laid his head on his hands and said, "Good night Daddy. I will see you in the morning." He then closed his eyes in death and stepped over into heaven.
4. Dr. Criswell said the professor didn’t say anymore after that. He just looked out the window of that airplane for a long time. Then he turned back and he looked at Dr Criswell with the scalding tears coming down his cheeks and he said, "Dr. Criswell, I can hardly wait till the morning."
7. Job knew that there was life after death and that he would experience a wonderful transformation. Finally notice that he spoke of:
B. Our Destination In The Life To Come. Job 14:10
1. In Job 14:10, “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? Job knew there was life after death. The only real question was, where would be and what would be our destination?
2. Job knew where he would be? He knew that heaven would be his destination. He knew that he would see God. How about you? What will be your destination? Will it be heaven or hell? There are no alternatives. There is life after death and you will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.
3. Notice Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:” The reason Job knew that he will live again in a heavenly home and would one day see God, was because He had a Redeemer.
4. I don't much in this world, but I know that I am saved. Because I am saved I know that heaven is my home and that I will spend eternity in heaven. I settled my destination in July of 1958. How about you?
*** A story in Max Lucado's book, Six Hours One Friday, offers a good parable of the Easter message. Lucado tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote part of the jungle. They lived near a large river. The tribe was in need of medical attention. People were dying daily.
A hospital was not too terribly far away-across the river, but the Indians would not cross it because they believed it was inhabited by evil monsters. To enter the water would mean certain death. The missionary explained how he had crossed the river and was unharmed. They were not impressed. He then took them to the bank and placed his hand in the water. They still wouldn't go in. He walked into the water up to his waist and splashed water on his face. It didn't matter. They were still afraid to enter the river. Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He punched a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water and escaped. It was then that the Indians broke out into a cheer and followed him across.
That's exactly what Jesus did! He told the people of His day that they need not fear the river of death, but they wouldn't believe. He touched a dead boy and called him back to life. They still didn't believe. He whispered life into the body of a dead girl and got the same result. He let a dead man spend 4 days in a tomb and then called him out and the people still didn't believe Him. Finally, He entered the river of death and came out on the other side. Jesus is the answer to the six-foot hole. He has the truth about life and death.