Many modern people often say, “Death is natural, so don’t worry too much about it!” But not many are aware how much it contradicts our deep sense of reality and how we are made.
Peter Kreeft, a Christian philosopher, told a story about a couple who were his friends. They had a seven-year-old son whose three-year-old cousin had just died. Out of a desire to comfort their child who was grieving the loss, they explained that he doesn’t need to be sad because his cousin is now part of nature, and Death is something natural that we need to accept. But to their surprise, their son blurted out, “I don’t want him to be a fertilizer!” and ran away. I think his view of Death was closer to Jesus than his parents. Death is not natural. It is a rude interrupter. We are not meant to die. We are meant to last. And we know that.
How did Jesus respond to someone’s Death? When his good friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. (John 11:35) And, at his tomb, he got angry at the Death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus didn’t tell Lazarus’ sisters to keep their chin up and stay strong. Jesus wept. He grieved the loss. And he faced up to the true reality of Death, as thief, intruder, invader, and showed hostility toward it.
Though he knew he would raise him back to life soon, he let us know how he felt about Death. Death is an enemy, not just a natural part of the life cycle.
This is why the good news of the resurrection is not only hopeful but acknowledges and satisfies our deepest desire to live forever. A desire for everlasting life led some emperors to hunt for special herbs or medicine. But they all have their tombs today. Jesus is the only one who is without a tomb. And he is also the only one who promised to “others” the life-forever: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” (John 11:25)