What word would be most appropriate to describe 2020 from a global perspective? This year has been packed with such experiences, enough to make it a reference point in human history.
I remember waking up early last Saturday to the news of Chadwick Boseman, the black panther star. It wasn’t this single event alone that triggered a sad feeling in many I suppose, but, perhaps, a recollection of many other losses the world has had to endure through the start of the year till now. From Kobe Bryant to Ravi Zacharias, and, now Chadwick’s death… the series of ‘unfortunate’ events never seem to stop.
Should we talk about natural disasters in 2020? Though not so trendy as the deaths of iconic stars, hurricanes Laura, Isaias, and Hanna have claimed the lives of at least seventy-eight people spread across the Dominican Republic, North Carolina, Mexico, Florida, and many other places time may not permit me to list. Then there are the uncontained wildfires in regions like California and Colorado, the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history claiming the lives of many and leaving thousands injured, not to talk of the pandemic that the world still recovers from. And if we are talking Nigeria but not natural disasters, there are the killings in Southern Kaduna, and that’s not to mention the many who have had to endure personal losses from unrelated causes this period.
The fact is, if 2020 were a horror movie, it would make for a great blockbuster. However, if your reaction to the happenings of 2020 is a feeling of hopelessness or thought to how ‘powerful’ death is, then I suggest you read the rest of this article as carefully as you can as it would bless you.
So, as I said, the death of Chadwick Boseman was a deal-breaker for many, family, friends, fans, some of his closest colleagues as well, the world seemed to have stood still. Permit me, however, to borrow from the words of T’Challa (Chadwick’s character in Black Panther); “In my culture… death is not the end”. A powerful quote, worth framing and hanging on your wall, but if you’re not very certain why just yet, do not worry, I’d explain further. But first, do you know how despairing death is? Do you know how much hurt the cessation of life causes? Do you know even so, that worse than death itself, the fear of death has been a stronghold on humanity, robbing men of living a true life of purpose? Yes, there is a bondage that the fear of death instils. Even without proving this scripturally, it is medically recognised as thanatophobia; the fear/anxiety of death and is linked to many disorders. The fear of death manifests in different forms, from the actual anxiety of dying to the hopelessness that makes a man uncommitted to living a meaningful life. Death became the fate of all mankind when Adam fell, so, should Jesus tarry, every man in existence at the moment would taste of death, however, it be, and whatever age it occurs notwithstanding.
So, death is by no means pleasurable, and the grief it causes its victim’s loved ones is no joke at all. However, there’s a culture in which death is not an end! There’s a man for whom death is no more than a mere door to be passed through! A person hears such a phrase in the movie (black panther) and though it may sound strange and sad, somehow it presents a glimpse of hope and assurance; good news irrespective of the outcome of the following events! But out of the sci-fi world, is there such hope? Is it possible that the much revered ‘death’ may not really be ‘the end’? Only if this were true, it would make for great good news, one the world needs especially in a time like 2020. Guess what, it is true! Death doesn’t have to be the end! Isn’t this good news? Let’s discuss this good news, shall we?
This good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is good news! The greatest good news and the reason why it is such great news to and for everyone is because;
1. Mankind was doomed to death and suffering and pain, not just while on earth, but an eternal fate.
Romans 5: 12 (NLT)
2. But now, mankind no longer have to face this doom because of the man Jesus who came in the flesh, died, was buried… and resurrected
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 (NLT)
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it.
It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.
He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
3. And all that is required to be a partaker is to believe!
Romans 5:17 (NLT) John 3:16 (NLT)
Glory to God!!! I feel like dancing right now!!! This is such great news! It is a cause for rejoicing! What should be a cause for despair has become a focal point for Christian hope. A man who has placed his faith in Jesus need not fear death, because death is defeated; death no longer can steal such a man’s joy neither can the fear of death hold him in bondage anymore! We see how that Jesus’ death and resurrection was efficacious not only in delivering us from the nature of sin and reconciling us back to God but also in revealing how powerless death is to the redeemed man, hence, freeing us from the fear of death and revealing a hope for all who dwell in Christ;
Hebrews 2: 14 -15 (NLT)
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (cf. Like 1:74)
This season is perhaps a very vital time to be reminded of this hope;
Romans 8: 18-25 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer
now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.
But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
Observe the words I highlighted.
We know that death to the body and natural disasters in the earth amongst many other things are the realities of the fallen man/world. We know that after man fell, death was appointed to every man, and this should be enough for a sad story, but, glory to God, we have redemption in Christ. And while we have received of God’s spirit and are being transformed in our minds, our body would still die, but not in the hopelessness that comes with an end, but like the death of a seed that yields forth a new life, we would resurrect in a new body, one that knows no death or suffering! Glory to God!!! Our hope is in the resurrection! Are you saved? Do you believe? Have you this hope? If yours is a ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes’, then it would guide you to rejoicing always!
Dear believer, the only reason to resolve to hopelessness is if Jesus never resurrected, just as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15: 12-19. As believers, we do not pray for untimely deaths, and we desire longevity so that the gospel may prosper more through our lives. More so, the supernatural is the new normal for a believer, we would heal the sick, we would raise the dead, and the final show of our victory is that we would rise again!!!
However, whenever a believer dies, while we weep, let us remember that Jesus died, so that death could only lead us to life in eternal bliss…glory!!! So, now I can live a life a purpose, I can live freely, leading a life void of the fear of death; for as Paul said, to live is Christ, and when death comes, it is gain for me, for I step into the true reality of life. For he who dies in Christ lives forever, for such a man there is no end to life. The #neverdiegang truly never dies. In 2020, where all hope seems to be lost, what better time is there to let the world see the hope there is in Christ Jesus! Death is not the end, Jesus put an ellipsis where the world puts a full stop! This is a call to make this gospel even louder!
To the family of Chadwick Boseman, and his many fans out there, our joy is that he died in Christ, and oh my you need to check out his speech on purpose in Howard university! For Chadwick, and every other believer, death truly is not the end #wakandaforever 🙅🏿♂️🙅🏿♂️🙅🏿♂️
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