#DailyDevotion But That’s Not All! Wait! There’s More!
1 Thess. 413We want you to know about those who go to their rest, my fellow Christians, so you don’t grieve like the others, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again; then God will in the same way through Jesus bring with Him those who went to their rest.
Some think that when in the New Testament the authors says someone went to their rest or they are asleep when they died that they are using a euphemism for death. I don’t think that is the case for Christians i.e. those who die in the faith of our LORD Jesus Christ. So Paul here wants us to know about those who go to their rest. About such people Jesus says John 1111“Our friend Lazarus has gone to sleep, but I’m going there to wake him up.”`I say they are not using a euphemism because Jesus says in the same chapter they are not dead, 25“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me will live even if he dies. 26Yes, anyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” The saints of God do not die. A euphemism is used to soften the language of something. Jesus is not trying to soften the language. He is speaking a truth. What we can say perhaps is that he is using a metaphor to describe something we cannot fully comprehend in this life.
So throughout the Scriptures the LORD and through his apostles and prophets speak of those who died as having fallen asleep. Acts 760 “When he had said this, he fell asleep,” speaks of Stephen as he is killed for the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 1336“When David had served the people of his time, he by God’s will went to his rest and was laid away with his fathers,” preached Paul. Peter says, 2Pet.34“He promised to come. What has happened? From the time the fathers fell asleep everything has stayed as it was since the world was first created.” This is not just empty, pious talk that comes from your Pastor’s mouth when he is trying to comfort you when a loved one dies. He is speaking a very important truth to you. Your loved one in Christ is not dead but alive. They are simply in a different state of being with the LORD which we call rest and sleep for lack of better language.
But as the infomercial says, “But that’s not all! There’s more! Because Jesus has died and risen from the dead, Paul affirms to us that those who have fallen asleep in the LORD Jesus Christ will also rise from the dead. This indeed is the great Christians truth and hope. Paul says, “don’t grieve like the others, who have no hope.” Now he isn’t saying don’t grieve. Jesus on his way to raise Lazarus from the dead wept when he heard Lazarus had died sanctifying our tears for those who fall asleep in his name. So yes, we will grieve those who fall asleep. It’s like when I visit my mother with all the kids and the tears flow as we leave and return home. It’s not that she won’t see us again. But she will miss seeing us in the meantime. We grieve the death of our loved ones because we will miss them.
I said there was more. Those who have fallen asleep in the LORD are going to rise from the dead, bodily, like our LORD Jesus Christ. This is our Christian hope. We don’t hope to just live up in heaven like the angels. No, we have a greater hope than that. We hope our LORD Jesus Christ will return, raise us and our dead with immortal, imperishable, glorious bodies like our LORD Jesus Christ and God will dwell with us here where we live.
Heavenly Father, give us people who have these comforting words of the resurrection on their lips when our loved one fall asleep so we may grieve in the hope of being reunited with them in life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.