By: Dave Froneman (my dear Father-in-law)
At the tender age of six, the inevitability of death occurred to me and became part of my life. Life and death.
I think it is good and even healthy to be thinking about death, but when one thinks about death MORE than life (as I often did) perhaps that is unhealthy. Dysfunctional even. But, the fact of the matter is that we are all going to die.
Another fact is that in a very real sense, not only are we going to die, but we are often already dead.
If my potential in life is to be a very successful businessperson, for example, and I am not (perhaps because I live in a country where the freedom to realise my potential is denied me because of poverty, a dysfunctional family situation, apartheid, slavery, war, a repressive government…etc) then, I suppose I am dead.
Dead in my sin.
Because what if God (let’s assume He exists), made me full of potential (let’s assume He is good), and was really, really excited about my potential (let’s assume God is the most joyful and positive being existing), but my potential is not really being realised.
In that sense, I am not really living. I am dead. The walking dead. And I am dead, because of sin. And I sin, because I am dead.
And then there is Jesus, who beats death. Just like that! Some woman has a withered hand, some woman has an issue of blood, some person has a dreaded skin disease, and another woman is sleeping around. These people are all not realising their potential, they’re all dead. And this Jesus guy gives them life.
In the time and place where Jesus lived, people went to a temple to get life. However, if you had an issue of blood or a dreaded skin disease, you were not allowed to go to this temple to receive this life.
But Jesus took on death and gave life. So that person with a skin disease could meet Jesus, get life, and then go back to the temple. There was another temple that existed which did not require you to come to it clean. Rather, you could come to it unclean and it made you clean. The Jesus temple.
While Jesus walked the earth, He faced death and sin wherever He went; but He always overcame it with His life. Then He went to the cross and faced death. He became death. He faced sin. He became sin.
The thing is, Jesus had life. He had lived to His full potential. He could hold and touch the unclean, He could forgive and heal and restore, because He carried light; and darkness had zero chance!
Darkness and death and hate and unforgiveness and uncleanliness and selfishness and racism and poverty and class and all that crap got their butt goodly kicked! Because His life, His light (the major theme of the gospel of John), His righteousness (the major theme of Paul’s writings – Romans, Galatians), His very person (the major theme of the Biblical idea of I AM), was just way too strong for death and sin.
So He was resurrected.
Jesus was resurrected by His Daddy. His Daddy was ecstatic. Happy, joyful. Pleased. Why? Because Jesus fulfilled His potential. He followed his passion. He was single-minded, able to hear God and obey him.
So Jesus is seated in heavenly places (a very happy and fulfilled place), and I am there too. With Him. In Him. Before Him, intimate with Him.
How lekker is that?
I used to think that eternal life was a mathematical formula; eternal is synonymous (is equal to – great pun hey?) with infinite.
Eternal life is infinite, but it is also Shalom. It is fulfilling and rich and meaningful and passionate and full of potential.
Which is real life.
So, instead of being the walking dead, I am now a life bringer like Jesus. I have a deposit, the Holy Spirit. Which means I am part of something. I belong to a body. Holy Spirit means I belong, I am immersed (baptised) in a called out group of people who bring life.
It’s a different government, a different kingdom, a different ruler with a different rule.
He rules with life. My death and sin cannot beat His life, so I know I will always belong to him. I have assurance. I am in Holy Spirit, I am immersed.
I keep on stuffing it all up with my stuff, and he keeps on fixing it with His stuff; just like he did when He walked on earth.
So I will die one day (unless He comes and bypasses that with His finality) but I know I will live, because He gives me life every day. And He has such fun and joy doing it.
Sometimes I get the fun and joy of it all and it cracks me up. I start laughing like a crazy charismaniac, swinging from the chandelier, “one of those born again types”.
Because when we die to our assumed racial inheritance, and get born into His life, we bring life and potential.
And God gets really, really happy, because it is good.
And then we can go into the world and reproduce, and rule (the major theme of Genesis) and be a light to the nations and make disciples.