People are familiar with FaceBook, but it is very important to know FaceDeath. Every person in the world has to face death, which is imminent and inevitable. The fact of death could be delayed, never denied. The Bible terms death as the last enemy. (I Corinthians 15:26)
Most violent death in history
Lord Jesus Christ faced the most violent death in history. His death is unparalleled in any part of the world or culture or time. An innocent was crucified with the Roman Governor Pilate declaring him as innocent and yet giving death sentence. The religious leaders were making allegation of blasphemy. It is interesting, how Son of God could blaspheme against himself? As common trait of unruly mob in any part of the world, this mob was just choosing violence, hatred and death and demanded death for Jesus, no knowing why they were gathered there. Poor Judas, saw that he blundered by betraying an innocent, committed suicide. The Roman captain who carried out the death sentence declared that Lord Jesus was truy righteous man.
The last words spoken by a dying man is considered important, significant, true and given full attention. The Words Lord spoke on the cross thus becomes a treasure that should be studied again and again, understood, valued and practiced.
Lord Jesus by his first statement on the cross taught the most important principle in spiritual life, i.e. forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Facing death, there was no trace of hatred, revenge, vengeance, bitterness, resentment, irritation, frustration, anger, wrath found in the dying savior. In the midst of pain, agony, and suffering, he was: God is Love. He was able to forgive his tormentors, persecutors, conspirators, betrayers, and ungrateful.
Forgiving others do not come easily. It is a difficult task. In my opinion it is a spiritual task, hence difficult. In the world of hatred, revenge and murder; Lord Jesus taught and demonstrated Forgiveness.
- Focus on purpose
When Lord Jesus was crucified, two more robbers were crucified alongside him, one on his left and another on his right. The ruling elite thought that by doing so, they thought of establishing that Lord Jesus is a criminal for sure. The conversation between these two robbers is interesting and one of them turns to Lord Jesus seeking forgiveness and a place in Heaven. Lord Jesus responded: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
When we wallow in self-pity, hurt, pain and loneliness, we tend to ignore others who are around us. We ignore especially those who are in need. Lord Jesus had enough spiritual, mental, emotional and physical agony to deal with. Why should be care for the cursed people around him? Lord Jesus was different. His purpose for coming to the world was to save the sinners. Lord Jesus did not come to kill or destroy sinners, rather save them. Here a sinner uses his the only last opportunity to repent and get forgiveness. He uses that. Lord Jesus promised, assured, and guaranteed that the wretched criminal will be with the Lord in Paradise. In that Lord Jesus asserted that he was Lord of Heaven and who could forgive sins.
Lord Jesus knew the purpose for which he came to this earth. He was conscious in spite of his sufferings and fulfilled even in the eventuality of death. We have to have a focused life that fulfills God’s purpose in our life.
- Forget not your role
We are not born in the world as cosmic orphans or meteors straying around the cosmos or floating objects in the ocean. There is a context in which the Sovereign God sends us into the world. Our birth is not an accident. Our life if full of choices. Our life has a definite role and purpose in the world. We should not neglect our duties in this world. Lord Jesus had a great purpose of redeeming the world, in that focus he did not forget his duty for his widowed mother. Lord Jesus provides for his mother by asking his close friend John to take care of her. “Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
Fulfilling a great task or job in the world is not an excuse to neglect the family. This also shows the importance of friendship. John was a great friend, who was near Lord Jesus even during the suffering on cross. John took care of Mary thereafter. When people do not like to take care of ailing aging mothers, John joyfully took care of his friend’s mother.
- Forsaken not: Price to pay
Walking in the valley of death of a lonely affair. Death is a lonely path and door to pass through. For many it is torturous transfer to invisible world. The traumatic trip is not possible without God’s help. As fully human and fully divine Lord Jesus had to identify with humanity to the ultimate to be the Saviour of humanity. Lord Jesus Christ identified with humans in death also. Lord felt the agony of death, i.e. separation from God. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34) Passing from this life to heavenly life is a moment of transformation that could not be comprehended or described.
There is an assurance and promise: “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:7-8) We are not forsaken but surely shaken to core as we exit the physical form of life and inherit the life of glory in the Paradise.
- Fervency: Passion
The Lord suffered immensely because of the loss of strength, dehydration, loss of blood and no food or water intake. The statement was not just a physical reality, also a spiritual reality. “I thirst.” (John 19:28) As Son of God, he thirsted for righteousness to be established among humans. He thirsted for human race to turn from deception, darkness, destruction towards the Truth, righteousness and life. Lord Jesus passion for perishing people was evident in this statement of agony.
What are we hungry and thirsty for? Is that fervency evident even until our death? “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Mathew 5:6)
Touching the Finish Line in the race is very crucial. The race has no meaning unless we touch the Finish Line. Life is compared to race, pilgrimage, journey…etc. All these comparisons have a destination or Finish line as the final end. In the world also, we are called to finish certain tasks before we exit from this material and physical world. Lord Jesus could boldly say: “It is finished” (John 19:29-30) Lord Jesus completed the Plan of Salvation for humanity. By His sacrifice and death, he earned forgiveness and salvation for all humans who believe in Him. The statement also means that all his earthly suffering, pain and death is also over or finished.
When we look back from the death bed, we should also be able to say boldly, confidently and joyfully: “It is finished.” This is possible, only when we lead a God conscious life, diligently fulfilling God’s will in our life each and every day and pursuing God’s purpose in our life.
- Future security through Faithful Commitment
The last Word of the Lord was a statement of commitment: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) God incarnate Lord Jesus Christ now has completed His Purpose in the world. The Plan of Salvation that Father envisioned has been perfectly implemented Son of God. With this conviction and confidence that the mission has been accomplished Lord commits his life in the Hands of the Father. The act was not pessimistic or resignation to fate, but jubilant victorious statement.
When we face death is it possible to have similar conviction and confidence? Can our death be declaration of victory or jubilation?
Lord Jesus exemplarily demonstrates FaceDeath. There are many teachers who have taught how to live, however, Lord Jesus demonstrates how to end life well with victory and glory. Gory death was converted to Glorious death that was followed by Glorious Resurrection.