How many times have you died? Can you count? Actually, no one can, with exception to God.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as people are destined to die once”. With Jesus, with God, we can see that God can change someone’s destiny.
In Jesus’ days, he brought back to life many people who were personally physically dead. Lazarus is among those folks. Even in Elijah’s days, the physically dead were brought back to life, and physically died again with age.
There is a death all of us have suffered. Every year, we celebrate Memorial Day in the memory of those who have fallen in battle on our behalves, that is to keep us safe, to keep us from encountering enemy fire ourselves. Those folks and many others who died before we were even born, died on our behalves. They stood in the path of danger as if we were the one standing in such path. They died so that we ourselves wouldn’t have to die as they did. Though we didn’t physically die in our own persons, we died in their persons. They did something for us. Whatever they did is credited to us. We can say that we did whatever was done because they did it for us. They physically died for us. Thus, we die in their persons. Does that make sense?
Likewise, we died in Christ. When we look at the death that Christ suffered for us, we immediately acknowledge the death of everything that we ourselves would ever desire, including the temporary life in the flesh.
When a loved one is dead, we often feel like a part of us has died. But if we know that this person, not the body yet, is well alive with Christ then just as we’re one with Christ, this person remains well alive in our heart. And this is the consideration that moves us from grievance to joy.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul started sharing with us this same joy in saying, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”
How many times have you died? Too many to count. But there is a death that is above all death, even above your own physical death. It’s the death of Christ.
As Paul puts in Romans 5:10, “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son”
By the time you physically die, you will have died many times in the persons of many who sacrificed themselves for your sake. There’s one’s sacrifice that is above all other sacrifices of past, present and future. It’s the sacrifice of God’s son, Jesus, by God for the sake of God’s love for us.
And as Paul again gloriously put it, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
The good news continues. Christ did not only die for us. He was resurrected for us. Whatever was done to him for us, was done to us. Hence, our resurrection in him. Just as we died in him, we live in him. Now that he’s alive, we honor him as the Veteran above all veterans. A one-of-a kind veteran. A veteran like no other.