Mark 12:26-27 Now about the dead rising – have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
A proper understanding of who Jesus IS, and what he TAUGHT, must include the central place he gave to the question of ‘life after death’. The doctrines of ‘Humanism’ have so dominated the culture in my generation that it is all too common for people to be comfortable with the belief that our earthly life is all there is, and there is nothing beyond the grave except for our lifeless bodies to rot away – ‘there is NO ME beyond my final breath’!
In Jesus’ day, among the champions of this belief were the Sadducees, a nominally Jewish political sect who were in constant debate with their rivals the Pharisees on this matter (cf Acts 23:6-8). Jesus’ clear, unambiguous ruling on this is that the Sadducees were ‘badly mistaken’. His comment referring to God’s revealing himself to Moses as ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’, all of whose bodies had already been buried in the grave, left them speechless. On another occasion, Jesus told a story about a rich man and a poor man, Lazarus, both of whom had ‘died’ and found themselves ‘alive’ in very contrasting circumstance beyond the grave (Luke 16:19-31)!
Jesus’ own bodily resurrection, leaving his tomb EMPTY, clinches the question beyond contention – and it is important to note the Apostle Paul’s inspired pronouncement concerning the significance of this: “In the past God overlooked such ignorance [concerning the clear revelation of himself in Creation and throughout human history], but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to ALL men by RAISING HIM FROM THE DEAD.” (Acts 17:30-31).
God’s inspired Word tells us that we are ALL ultimately ACCOUNTABLE to HIM, and STAND CONDEMNED before him by OUR SIN, unless we take hold of the ONLY rescue package HE has provided by the death and resurrection of his SON. The stark reality of this truth makes the Humanistic view that God does NOT EXIST, and that there is NO LIFE AFTER DEATH very attractive – especially in the light of Jesus’ description of it in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16!
Let us make sure we are not found among those who are putting their head in the sand in an attempt to escape from the reality, instead of taking hold of God’s gracious, and very simple, provision in Christ. “Before the throne of God above I have a strong, a perfect plea: a Great High Priest, whose name is ‘Love’, who ever lives and pleads for me. … Because the sinless Saviour died, my sinful soul is counted free, for God, the Just, is satisfied to look on HIM, and pardon ME. … One with my Lord, I cannot die, my soul is purchased by his blood, my life is safe with Christ on high, with Christ, my Saviour and my God.” (Charitie Lees de Chenez).