Monday, August 30
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
Console one another with these words, (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
What does it mean when the Bible refers to death as “sleep”? We see it in today’s first reading as well as in other parts of the Bible, For example, Daniel 12:2 refers to the dead as “those who sleep in the dust of the earth,” and before He raised him from the dead, Jesus referred to Lazarus as “asleep” (John 11:11).
We often use “sleep” as a comforting metaphor for death, and that’s understandable. Death is scary. Most of us spend the better part of our lives trying to avoid it Sleeping, on the other hand, is not scary. It’s easier to relate to, and it gives the impression that death is temporary, But “sleep” is more than just a peaceful metaphor. Deep down, we all sense that we were made for more than this life. We all sense that something – or better yet, Someone-awaits us on the other side. And that sense is right.
Jesus told us over and over that we should trust Him and not be afraid – and nowhere is that more appropriate than when we think about death. God has promised that we will someday “wake up” to be with Him forever.
Jesus said it best when he said that His Father “is not God of the dead but of the living” (Mark 12:27), He promised that even when we sleep in death, we are alive in God. That can happen, He taught, because His salvation opens the door for us to live forever – and to be fully united with Him, with all the saints, and with our loved ones who have walked the path ahead of us.
This gives death new meaning. It is no longer a “hard stop” to life that we should fear; it’s a gateway to a new and even better life. The happiness we will experience in heaven will far surpass any of our greatest joys here on earth. That’s why Paul’s words today aren’t gloomy – they’re uplifting!
So let Jesus lessen whatever fears you may have about death. Ask Him instead to fill you with a greater sense of hope and expectation for that day when you awake to new life with Him!
“Jesus, thank You for opening the gates of heaven for me and my loved ones!”
Psalm 96:1,3-5, 11-13
Luke 4: 16-30
Daily Reflections from “The Word Among Us”