When Death Happens

Brian Keepers

Read: John 19:31-42

So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices . . . (v. 40)

Woody Allen once quipped, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Yet in some way don’t we all fear death? Isn’t this why we try to prolong life and keep death at bay?

When Jesus bows his head and gives up his spirit, he dies. It isn’t just the appearance of death. It’s the real thing, as evidenced by blood and water that flows from his spear-thrusted side. According to Jewish custom, Jesus’ body is wrapped in linen, covered with expensive spices, and placed in a new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. With his burial, the hope of Israel also dies. Jesus of Nazareth will go down in history as just another failed messiah . . . or so it seems.

As it turns out, we don’t get a choice about death. We can try to avoid and deny it, but when death happens, we all have to be there. We can, however, choose how we face death. Because our Savior and Lord experienced death and conquered it, we don’t have to be afraid. Even in dying and death, there is hope. Today is Holy Saturday. Jesus’ body was in the tomb. A hush filled creation, a quiet sorrow where the stench of death hung. But take heart. This is not the end of the story. —Brian Keepers

As you pray, ask God to be with those who are grieving and to give you a death-defying hope in Jesus’ name.