Posted by: duncandrews | April 24, 2011

A life and death sermon (part 7): Neither brokenness nor apathy

On luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

I want to finish just by thinking a little about how all of this hits home for us. I reckon most of us here fit into one of two categories. I suspect that, for many of us, we’re either too much like this woman that Jesus met, or else we’re not enough like her.

You see this woman, she knew in the deepest, most personal way the pain of death. We’ve already seen she was a woman in despair. And perhaps there are some here today who, when you’re really honest with yourself, you realise that that’s you. You know that brokenness, that emptiness that death leaves in you; that deep sense of hopelessness.

If that’s you, Jesus holds out very real comfort and hope – take hold of it. Because of his death and resurrection, there is more to life than death. Jesus promises that death will not be the end; that even though we face the pain of death, there will come a day when we’ll share in his resurrection through death, to enjoy eternity with him. Those who follow Jesus have a certain hope that a day is coming when He will come up to us, and wipe our tears away, and say to us, ‘don’t cry’.

So some of us may be too burdened by death. But others of us, and I reckon this is probably most of us, we aren’t burdened enough by death, we’re not enough like this woman. For whatever reason – perhaps death hasn’t forced its way into our lives yet. Or maybe to cope we just ignore it, or we crowd it out with busyness, or we try and cheat it and fool ourselves it’s not coming. We all want to be secure and comfortable – and for so many of us, thinking about death threatens that security, and it’s much easier to just not go there, to not think about it.

The thing about those responses is that at their heart they’re all ways of trying to deal with death, to fight against it, by our own resources, our own strength. But that’s kind of like that old kids’ story, you know the one about a dam that’s bursting and there’s someone at the wall trying to plug the holes with his fingers. You might be able to stop a few leaks, you might even be able to stop the dam from bursting for a while – but there’s just no chance that you can do anything to stop that dam from bursting sooner or later.

So if we’re going to face our lives with integrity, we’ve got to be honest. We’ve got to stop busily trying to plug the holes, and like this widow see the magnitude of the problem and the situation we’re in.

In our own strength, we are helpless in the face of death. There’s nothing we can do – it will swallow us up.

But Jesus has swallowed it up. He’s the only one who actually does have the power to deal with death. There is real security and comfort – but it’s not found in self-denial, in plugging the holes – it’s found only in Jesus. Because of Him there is more to life than death. There is hope. And because of Him, you can be a person who faces death with this solid hope; with the knowledge that your Lord is the Lord of Life, who has defeated death so that you could share in his victorious life forever.

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