For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
It’s passages like this that make Christians sound like crazy people to the set of people in the world who just don’t understand... But we are not crazy, we are not brainwashed, we are not suckers. We simply believe what God says. And the second you die, you go somewhere. There’s no downtime, no nap, no waiting period or ghost phase. You’re living and then all of a sudden without missing a beat you are elsewhere. We only look dead and done on the outside to the people still living. That’s why the idea of dying being better is so weird sounding because to the living, the dead body is totally and completely and absolutely doing nothing and going nowhere. But that doesn’t mean that something isn’t going on. Here, we just don’t see that part.
Yesterday at church we were studying Luke 16 where Jesus actually gives Believers a glimpse into afterlife...
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)
I don’t think this is a parable because the Bible always says “And Jesus told them this parable” right before he tells us a parable, and that preamble is absent here. Also, Jesus uses real names in this account: Lazarus and Abraham. His parables never use real names. I think Jesus is telling something that actually happened once. He’s giving us a behind the scenes look - although this is “heaven” before the Resurrection, so it’s probably not like this now. Nevertheless, we can clearly see that there’s a fluid seamless transition going on upon these deaths. One guy went to eternal punishment and the other to eternal comfort. For that poor sick man, we do indeed see that dying is even better. For that rich selfish man we see that it really does matter how you live because it affects what happens after, and what happens after is forever!
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better... Living in such a way so that God doesn’t hold my sins against me (aka: believing in Jesus and pursuing holiness) affects me forever whether it looks like it on the outside of a dead body or not. Still sound weird? Nope.
*Side note: I bet Abraham is the greeter when we get there, and it sounds like he’s a hugger!
Thank you for giving us your Son so that we would know how to live in such a way that leads to more Living. I pray for the people that I know and love that require proof beyond what has already been given because they just don’t want to believe because it would affect what they want to do right now. I pray for their hearts to soften toward you right now even as I am praying for them so they will not realize when it’s too late like the rich man did. I love you and thank you that there really is more to this life, and that it’s better, and it’s not weird to believe that at all! And I pray in your Son’s name. Amen.