A devotion, a meditation on the events that have pierced our hearts and their relation to Christ as expounded to us by the writer to the Hebrews, especially chapter 2.
I have been meditating on the New Testament's teaching on the Resurrection. The text in Hebrews has been especially on my mind.
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
My eyes opened this morning to rays of sunlight surrounding the window shades. In my arms cuddled up to me were both my wife on the right side and my 5-year-old son on my left. I quickly considered the many blessings I have received in this life. Yet, in one sense, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I went to the window and pulled back the curtains and looked at the world. Men were still rising and going to work. The neighbors were watering/mowing their grass. The occasional clouds with possible storms made their way across the sky. The occasional ambulance call still went forth over my pager. The world seems to be as Peter's objectors/scoffers would say,
They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
The thought is the same. The world is just moving along as it always has. Nothing has changed. People live their lives and then come to their end. No transcendent meaning except what ever meaning we think we may ascribe to it. The writer to the Hebrews however, reminds us that we do not have the eyes of natural man. We do not see the world as the one, who is blind to Christ.
I have often wondered if even we, Christians in general, truly believe fully what has happened. I have often wondered if we miss the the significance of the Resurrection. I know we all celebrate Easter year after year. But do we simply celebrate it as an historical even, or do we see its theological impact? In other words, do we really believe and understand what has happened nearly 2,000 years ago?
This morning, I did not rise and merely see a world passing by in a state that it has always existed. This morning, I woke up prepared to take my family to a cemetery and in a sense, bury a child. This child was my nephew/niece, my children's cousin, but more importantly, it was your child.
I don't have words of comfort. If I speak, I would probably say something as dumb as others that have offended you. As a man, I wish I could fix what has happened. Yet death is so final. It catches us by surprise and decimates our souls.
But again, I did not wake up looking at a world moving along as it always has. The writer to the Hebrews is very clear. The eyes of faith see the very same things the world sees and sees them radically different. We now live in the age of the Resurrection (at least Christ's Resurrection!). Christ Himself rules and governs the affairs of this world. The verse cited above are the results of the Resurrection. For instance, in the first verses of the letter, we are told Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. We are told that all of the Angels worship Him. We are told that He is God in the flesh, and that He rules now and forever.
As we buried a child in that cemetery, I refuse to see this event, this tragedy, this family member, our little one, as just another meaningless death. I refuse to see this as merely God's wrath against sinners. We are in a sense like those in Hebrews 11, who were a "people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised".
We, on the other hand, have received, at least in part, that which was promised. We possess Christ! We no longer live as "separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world". Instead we live in the age where one, who claims to be the resurrection, has been raised from the dead. As Jesus said to Martha,
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Do we believe this? Perhaps we are growing in our understanding of what our Savior means by this. The resurrection has in one sense already come. As Jesus teaches us in John 5,
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
In conclusion, I have never experienced death in the way you have. I just hope that as fellow believers, you will be encouraged by what God has revealed to His people. I refuse to believe your child has died apart from Christ's authority, and I agree with the London Baptist Confession when it states,
Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who works when, and where, and how He pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
Jesus has all power to save anyone He wishes, including our children. He is the One who is the Final Judge. I trust He will do what is right and good. As we forever shed tears due to the pain God has inflicted upon our families, I pray we would all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior and His Resurrection!