LIFE BEFORE DEATH
Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 66:1-8; I John 3:14-24; John 14:15-21
FIFTH SUNDAY of EASTER
May 21, 2000
Ever notice how much of Scripture is about death? ... about sacrifice ... sacrificed sheep for example ... Jesus spoke about death a lot ... losing and gaining life ... the crucifixion ... death is a major topic of conversation.
Interestingly though, Scripture says very little about the topic people think Christianity focuses on -- life after death .. Not much is said directly about the after life. Considering the amount of time spent on the topic of death you would expect a lot more time spent on life after death if that is so important.
Even passages some people interpret as including life after death are debatable. Those passage might be referring to it but the reference is fairly indirect. It may be our needs - wants - desires which cause us to read into the passages.
Then what is Scripture talking about with all this talk about sacrifice, and even death? .. Clearly Scripture focuses not on life after death .... but on life before death.
Maybe because that is what we have some influence on? Not sure why, but I am sure that Scripture, and specifically Jesus, are much more concerned with the here and now than promises about "someday in the after life".
The new life Jesus speaks about so often does include life after death but focuses on promises about today -- right now -- life before death. The new life which becomes possible .. becomes ours through baptism -- through our relationship with God.
A second frequent topic for Scripture, and specifically for Jesus' teachings, is "covenants" .. promises. Not "deals" exactly -- not contracts but promises. They cannot be deals or contracts because human beings never live up to our side of them! Some people say the Old Testament can be summarized as the history of why God should destroy the Hebrew people but doesn't!
Covenants are different than contracts becaus ...
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