As frightening and threatening as death may seem, it can neither hurt nor destroy the child of God. In his book “Facing Death”, Billy Graham shares this true story about Donald Grey Barnhouse, one of America’s leading Bible preachers and authors in the first half of the 20th century.
Cancer took his first wife, leaving him with three children all under 12. The day of the funeral, Barnhouse and his family were driving to the service when a large truck passed them, casting a noticeable shadow across their car.
Turning to his oldest daughter, who was staring sadly out the window, Barnhouse asked, “Tell me, sweetheart, would you rather be run over by that truck or its shadow?
Looking curiously at her father, she replied, “By the shadow, I guess. It can’t hurt you.”
Speaking to all his children, he said, “Your mother has not been overridden by death, but by the shadow of death. That is nothing to fear.”
According to Tim Keller’s book, “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”, Barnhouse explained it this way. “It was only the shadow of death that went over your mother. She’s actually alive ⎯ more alive than we are. And that’s because two thousand years ago, the real truck of death hit Jesus. Because death crushed Jesus, and we believe in him, now the only thing that can come over us is the shadow of death, and the shadow of death is but my entrance into glory.”
Psalm 23:4 exclaims, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me”.
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for sin that you and I could never pay. He became our Great Substitute, experiencing the wrath of the Father against sin that you and I deserved. When He rose victoriously from the tomb, He defeated death, hell and the grave. Satan no longer has jurisdiction and rule over the grave.
Jesus Christ is the Victor! And His resurrection makes a profound difference for you and for me. Jesus declared triumphantly, “because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). When a child of God dies, they are only hit by the shadow of death because Jesus was hit by the truck. Tragically, the lost sinner, the one who has rejected Christ’s offer of salvation, is hit by the truck of death. There is not only physical death but also eternal spiritual death.
Friends, we must be covered by Jesus & His salvation. Just as the Jews needed to be protected from death by the blood of the sacrificed lamb painted on their doorposts (Exodus 12), so we must be protected by the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross to pay for our sin. We can Not face death on our own. We could never survive.
But Jesus paid for our salvation and all we have to do is accept His glorious free gift. As Paul declared, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. ... For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9-10, 13). All praise to Jesus for His generous and lavish gift!
This Sunday, April 17, we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday at the 10:35am worship service, giving praise to our Risen Lord. Use the enclosed Invite cards to encourage family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and classmates to join us in celebrating Christ’s glorious resurrection. The tomb is empty! Nothing is impossible for Him. Please join us at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream to both locations every Sunday morning.
Coming Up: Our next Compassion Sunday with Pastor Ron Peer will be April 24. Missionary Joyce Kitano will be with us on Sunday, May 1. She will share with us about her exciting ministry in Japan and also the miracle healing the Lord has recently done in her body. (Joyce will speak at both the 9:30am Bible Class and the 10:35am Worship service.) Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8. All women who attend will receive a special gift.
Aloha ke Akua!