What Happens When You Die?
Awakened by a Friend!
Do you like to sleep? I love to sleep-I mean really sleep. I don't like it when I toss and turn in bed for half the night or have wild dreams and nightmares. I like to hit the pillow, talk to my friend Jesus for a few moments, then waken to discover that it's morning with the sunshine streaming through the window (I prefer not to get up before the sun does!). After that kind of night, I feel rested and ready to face another day.
Do you remember taking long trips in the car when you were little-trips when it seemed like you would never arrive? Then, somehow you fell asleep and next thing you knew you were there, being carried from the car in your father's strong arms.
Have you ever had surgery? I have had several. I always liked it best when they put me all the way "out" while they fixed whatever needed fixing. I remember being wheeled into the operating room where doctors and nurses briefly talked with me before administering the anesthetic. The world would spin for a moment as I teetered between being awake and asleep-and then, (the next instant?) I would wake up. During the surgery I would feel no pain, have no concept of the passing of time, and have no recollection of what happened.
Jesus often used familiar experiences and events to illustrate important eternal truths. What we call death, Jesus called sleep!
Many years ago the family of a very sick man, sent word to Jesus that one of His friend was dying. Jesus responded by saying, "This sickness is not unto death."
Things got confusing for that family because Lazarus died. Apparently though, it was no big deal to Jesus, because a few days later He said to His disciples, "Our friend, Lazarus is sleeping, but I go that I might wake him out of sleep." (You may want to read the whole story in John 11:1-45.)
Death is nothing to Jesus. He calls it sleep because He doesn't want us to be afraid of it! There are some advantages to sleep, you know. You don't feel pain when you're asleep. Long trips pass more quickly and it's nice to wake up to find that you have arrived. Imagine opening your eyes and seeing Jesus!
If you have ever gone the long walk and come back alone, the best news about death is that one day in Heaven, Jesus will say to the angels, "My friends on earth are sleeping, but I go that I might wake them out of sleep!"
He is the Resurrection, the Life, and your Friend! What is more, if you should die before He returns, know this: He is coming back for His friends and He will not leave earth without 'em.
Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [in death]. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (The Amplified Bible)
Lesson 9 - Introduction