I just watched a woman die. She was 84. Her family had gathered around her. My 9-year-old son held his Granny’s hand as it went limp and then cold. She had no fear in death. She longed for the destiny she trusted Jesus would command.
Forty-Nine people were just shot dead in an Orlando nightclub, 53 taken to hospitals. No one had reached the age of 84, each person was young. Was any dying hand held that night as it went limp and cold? As the gunman came closer and closer, pulling the trigger … the trigger … the trigger, did any victim have no fear?
Jesus talked to his friends about dying, fear and murder. He said, “I tell you, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear him who, after the killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:4-5).
When talking about murder and dying, Jesus told his friends to look beyond what they could see. He said the ultimate disaster is to be denied access to the new heavens and the new earth.
Today other voices coax people into fearing things much less than death — let alone hell and the one who can send them there. Fear strangers, foreigners, being unfriended, rejected, laughed at, underdressed, overdressed, out of style, too fat, too thin, fear being outed as a homophobe.
Jesus says that the fear of people or circumstance and the future is not a necessary human condition. And so he tells his friends, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
A young singer named Christina Grimmie was also just shot and killed in Orlando. I don’t know what songs she sang that night at The Plaza Live theater, but In Christ Alone was one of her favorites. The lyrics speak of assurances that Jesus made.
No guilt in life, no fear in death. This is the power of Christ in me. From a life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand. ’Til He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand. No guilt in life, no fear in death. This is the power of Christ in me. From a life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand. ’Til He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Have a listen: Christina Grimme, In Christ Alone
Now that’s something to Celebrate!