In our culture, we’re not knowledgeable about death and dying. Most of us never see death nor even recognize when death is coming. However, in the first-century, deaths typically occurred at home, on the battlefield, at sea, or in public execution, as Peter anticipated when he wrote his final letter.
Peter’s time of questioning his faith and denying his Savior was past, behind him. He had deconstructed during those days after Christ’s death, wondering why He had died, not comprehending Jesus’ words from the Last Supper, words that had encouraged and prepared His disciples for His death.
Rather, Peter had crumbled.
But then, Peter saw the risen Savior, thus reconstructing his faith. Jesus was alive!
Peter came out the other side of his questioning — his deconstruction — now fully restored and reconstructed, believing in Christ Jesus and all He had ever proclaimed. Peter became a preacher of the Gospel and a founder of numerous churches across Asia Minor. Peter grew in His knowledge of Christ Jesus, and he wrote to instruct those whom he had introduced to Christ Jesus as their Savior.
We, likewise, are recipients of this letter.
Unless Christ returns first, we will all die, so we must be ready, sure of our salvation. Our bodies will wear out, and then, bit by bit, day by day, we will make our exit. Death awaits us all. We can thank Adam for that.Unless Christ returns first, we will all die, so we must be ready, sure of our salvation. Our bodies will wear out, and then we will make our exit. Death awaits us all. We can thank Adam for that. #bgbg2 #TrustingJesus Click To Tweet
I’ve never seen anyone die before my very eyes, but I watched my daddy die over the course of nine years. He had dementia, and it took him away from us, relentlessly, bit by bit, day after day.
Recently, he came to the end of his life here on earth. Gradually, he quit eating. He had no appetite. He chewed food, but then spit it out without swallowing it. He also began drinking less water. We urged him to partake. My mother provided tasty foods and water in hand, but no. His body was done. Then he lost his balance and his ability to walk without support. It was time for his body to die.
Unlike every other medical care, such as emergency rooms, hospitals, doctor appointments, etc., hospice does NOT try to prevent death. It’s disconcerting at first. It feels backwards.
Why doesn’t somebody fix this, our alarmed inner-selves ask? Stop the bus! Daddy can’t die!
But death can’t be fixed when it’s our time to die. The Lord is waiting for us, right on the other side.Death can't be fixed when its our time to die. The Lord is waiting for us, right on the other side. #faith #KnowingJesus #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Rather than futilely trying to stop the process of death, hospice allows the person to die with dignity in the most natural and yet pain-free way possible. My mother squeezed into my father’s hospice-care bed each night, so they could cuddle. The first night they were there in hospice, it was their 63rd anniversary. He was unable to speak anymore.
We bombarded him with: “I love you, Daddy,” and “It’s Melinda, Daddy. I love you.”
I was still stuck at the airport, unable to reach him in time. And so, my sister gripped his hand and held her phone up to his ear so he could hear me. Since he couldn’t open his eyes, he listened, hearing my voice mingled with my sisters’, his girls. Unconscious, something about our father’s recumbent face twisted into a brief glimpse of a wish of a smile, an acknowledgement of our love for him and his for us.
We’ll cherish that moment for all our days. All three girls were present. He could let go.
When the Apostle Peter wrote his final letter, he was likewise prepared to die. And so, he penned:
“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:13-14 NIV).
When it’s time to die, it’s time to die. Where do we stand with Jesus? Do we have faith?When it's time to die, it's time to die. Where do we stand with Jesus? Do we have faith? If you're uncertain, pray. Ask the Lord for forgiveness and for relationship with Him. #faith #KnowingGod #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Peter was not going to die like my father died — cared for, cherished, encouraged along the way, loved. History recounts for us that Peter first watched his own wife be crucified, calling out encouragement to her as she died, urging her toward heaven. And then, Peter himself died brutally, crucified upside down, in extreme pain. Knowing this was coming, Peter wrote his second letter while still in the prison.
When one is going to die in such a manner, a review of the truth is required, a human assurance for ourselves of what is coming next. And so, Peter wrote:
“For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.’
“We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in the dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:16-19 NIV).
Peter presents a picture here. Spiritually, this passage refers to that clear and comfortable knowledge of and strong faith in Christ, which is the harbinger of an eternal day of life and blessedness, like the certainty of the sun springing up every morning, like seeing Venus in the morning on a clear day.
Peter had evidence. When facing death, he stood on this truth.
He had seen the transfiguration of Christ on the mountain top. He had also seen Jesus after He rose from the dead. He had touched Christ Jesus’ hands and His side. He had spoken to the risen Savior, seeing Him multiple times over the course of the forty days after His resurrection, in which Jesus Messiah lingered with His disciples, appearing before hundreds, instructing them about what to expect and what to do.
Imagine facing death with that personal knowledge. Peter wanted those reading his letter to have as much confidence as he had when he faced death, so he recorded this reminder for us. He recalled the prophetic message — the Biblical foretelling of Christ’s coming and all that follows — plus now the evidence and proof that He did indeed live, die, and rise from the dead.
“I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things,” (2 Peter 1:15). Peter assures his followers and all of us.
“Remembering in the Bible includes the will and not just the mind. In recalling what God has done and said in the past, we are to take it to heart in a way that affects our thinking and behaving.” (The NIV Application Commentary, 2 Peter and Jude, by Douglas Moo, pg. 280-281.)
We cannot forget these words when we face death ourselves. We are called to remember them.
The Lord is waiting for us, right on the other side. He is certain, unwavering.We cannot forget these words when we face death ourselves. We are called to remember them. The Lord is waiting for us, right on the other side. He is certain, unwavering. #bgbg2 #Faith #KnowingJesus Click To Tweet
P.S. Many people affected by dementia are concerned that they may inherit or pass on dementia. However, the majority of dementia is not inherited by children nor grandchildren.
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