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"What is like to die?" The college student asked me. Leaning over to him on my knees in the hospital room, I said: "It's going to sleep, it's when your body shuts down, and you fall to sleep. Your life in your body comes to an end."
He had tears in his eyes. I did too. My friend lived another 3 weeks. Cancer had run its course, and Jesus carried him to heaven into Christ's own presence.
I still grieve from time to time over this young man. But I don't grieve without hope. I trust in the Lord that though this student died, he lives! He lives because of Jesus Christ, who lives! Amen.
The Book of Isaiah, which contains Isaiah the prophet's own call into the ministry, includes his own spiritual death. He dies. Isaiah comes to his own end in Isaiah 6:1-8. He sees himself before the holiness of God. The angels (the seraphim) cry "holy." And Isaiah cries, "Woe!"
The story of Christ coming into the world—Christmas—includes dying so that we might live. Jesus came to live for us, and he came to die for us. Jesus Christ enables us to die (to see our sin rightly, to come to the end of living for ourselves) and he enables us to live (to see that we have complete and full forgiveness in him).