July 19, 2010

Death is Such an Ugly Enemy

This is an excellent section from D.A. Carson's book Scandalous.  John 11:33 says that when Jesus saw Mary and others weeping over Lazarus' death He was "deeply moved" in His spirit.  Carson stresses that the phrase “deeply moved” really should be translated as “outraged” because the language communicates anger.  Part of what Jesus was experiencing was anger.  Jesus was angry because death is always ultimately because of sin, the ultimate tragedy. Although God brings good out of the death of a believer, death itself is something evil.  Carson writes:

“There is a compassion in these tears, but there is also outrage. Jesus is outraged not because he has lost a friend but because of death itself. Death is such an ugly enemy. It generates endless and incalculable anguish. And for anyone steeped in the entire biblical heritage, death itself is a mark of sin. How is death introduced to the [human] race? Death itself is nothing other than God’s insistence that human hubris [prideful arrogance] will go so far and no farther. It is God’s judicial response to our warped rebellion. Whether death afflicts us at five or ten or thirty or fifty or seventy or eighty years, it comes and it is implacable [it can not be bribed away]. We are sinners, and we will die. Every time there is death, it still hurts. It is still painful. It is still ugly. And it is still the result of sin. This is not the way God made the creation in the first place. Jesus is outraged by the whole thing. He is outraged by the death that has called forth this loss, by the sin that lies behind that, and by the unbelief that characterizes everyone’s response to it. . . [The Bible] dares to recognize death as the last enemy. Death is an enemy, and it can be a fierce one. Death is not normal when you look at it from the vantage point of what God created in the first place. It is normal this side of the fall, but that is not saying much. It is an enemy. It is ugly. It destroys relationships. It is to be feared. It is repulsive. There is something odious about death. Never pretend otherwise. But death does not have the last word. It is the last enemy, but more to be feared is the second death. Thank God for a Savior who could claim, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’” (132-2.)

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