People everywhere grieve when others die and frequently commemorate their death by praying or placing flowers at their grave site or in other ways. Some religions even suggest they can help people after they die. What do we learn from Jesus about responding to death? The absence of mention of Jesus visiting tombs while growing up or during His ministry is significant. Today many religious Jews visit tombs of famous people mentioned in the bible and tombs of historically important or righteous Rabbis. In Jesus' day the Cave of the Patriarchs where Abraham, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah were buried and Rachel's tomb in Bethlehem would have certainly been known locations yet there is no mention of Jesus in connection with these locations. Not only did Jesus not visit Abraham and Jacob's tomb, Jesus stated "THAT GOD SAID TO MOSES, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB.' HE IS THE GOD OF THE LIVING, NOT OF THE DEAD". One time Jesus encouraged a man to follow Him and when the man replied he wanted to first go and bury his father Jesus replied, "LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD, BUT YOU GO AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD". Although this statement emphasizes the importance to telling about the kingdom of God, it also definitely communicates Jesus' lack of concern for dead bodies. Why would Jesus not be concerned? One reason could be that when a body dies the transition seems to be immediate. Jesus tells a story about a rich man who died and was "IN HELL". On the cross Jesus said to a man "TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE". By the time a body dies eternal life appears to be determined, even if we are unfortunate enough to have to wait for "THE DAY OF JUDGMENT". The agreement God made for us when He sent His son Jesus and Jesus reveals to us when He disclosed, "EVERYONE WHO HAS FAITH IN ME WILL LIVE, EVEN IF THEY DIE". How important is our dead decaying body and a grave, if we are still alive in eternal life? 1

1. Mk 12:26-27 (GN); Lk 9:59-60; 16:22-23; 23:43; Mt 12:36 (NI); Jn 11:25-26 (CE)

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