I can remember as a kid driving home from vacation when on the radio a news bulletin announced that Jack Cassidy had died in a fire. Even as a kid I was familiar with the Cassidy name but what struck me was how his death was described: “Jack Cassidy was burnt to death in a fire . . . . ” That painted the picture all too graphically for my young mind. What a horrible way to go.
I remember in high school some friends of mine were out driving in my one friend’s convertible when they lost control going too fast around a corner and flipped, killing the driver instantly. All of life in front of him but death got there first.
I remember some friends of ours had a son who was severely brain-damaged. They loved Anthony and took such good care of him. His dad, my friend, was a terror as a child. To see him gently hold his special-needs son was beautiful and emotional. And then only a few months later Anthony passed away. It was very difficult to see his life, challenging as it was, be overtaken by death. But it did.
I remember a professor of mine at Moody Bible Institute who in his early thirties met the woman of his dreams, married her, only to see her die inexplicably after only a short time of marriage.
I remember a couple at our church years ago who were caring for her elderly mother. They had plans to travel extensively once her mother passed away. But death does not go by our scheduling. Her husband died of a massive heart attack and then not long after her mother passed away as well.
I remember a concert. There were thousands in attendance at the outdoor event, all having a good time enjoying the music until . . . 58 of them died because somebody decided he wanted to choose to schedule their deaths.
I remember a man who was led to His death. He went voluntarily but he wasn’t thrilled about it. In fact, He asked if there could be another way to accomplish what had to be done. In fact, there wasn’t another way. With that knowledge, He willingly went to His death. It wasn’t the senseless slaughter of 58 people at a concert; it wasn’t the death of a husband and mother; it wasn’t the death of a wife, or son, or friend, or celebrity. It was the death of the one Man who could defeat death by His own death and resurrection. It was the death of the God-man: Jesus Christ.
“Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:10-12 NIV).
While death is never easy, because of Jesus it does not have to be the end of the story.