We know that Jesus has dealt with death, and yet we still have loved ones who grieve at the passing away of family and friends.
This is painful for us today, but for the first Christians, it was also confusing.
They had seen Jesus’ power over death when he raised Lazarus to life, and his empty tomb was evidence that he’d cured death by his own resurrection.
So what was happening to the believers in Jesus who were still experiencing death?
In 1 Thessalonians, we read words of wisdom and comfort for those who were confused and saddened by death.
The words were written so that they would not be “uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
And it turns out that whilst death is conquered, there is still a final chapter to be played out in the future:
According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Death has been conquered by Jesus, but we still await the final day when the present age will come to a close and when eternity will begin and never end.
This is a great source of encouragement, and something we must continue to remind each other. Do not give up hope, but keep waiting!