Grave mistake

It was a grave mistake. Jesus had upset religious and non-religious people. They were determined to put an end to his movement. After an unjust trial, they crucified him on a hill called Golgotha, then thought it was over when they put His body in a borrowed grave.

But that’s a grave mistake! Jesus didn’t come into the world to wind up in a grave. He didn’t die on the cross saying, “I am finished.” He said, “It is finished.” He knew He wasn’t finished – He was just beginning!

The grave was a temporary residence for Jesus. After three days, He came out and appeared alive to hundreds of people and then ascended to God, His Father. Read I Corinthians 15 and 16.

It’s a grave mistake to think that a grave is the end. That’s merely where a body is placed. The soul of man continues to live forever. Each person chooses his/her destiny for eternity –  either in the presence of God or in the absence of God. The Bible calls the alternatives heaven or hell. It’s a grave mistake to think you can change your choice in the grave!

In Pisa, Italy, there is a very interesting cemetery. Years ago, shiploads of soil were brought in from the Holy Land so that people could be buried in that soil. They thought it would be more helpful for their salvation than reciting Masses or lighting candles. Grave mistake!

Winston Churchill planned his own funeral in St. Paul’s Cathedral with stately hymns and impressive liturgy. He also arranged for what would happen after the benediction. He had a bugler high in the dome of the church to play “Taps,” a universal signal that the day is over and ended. But then he had another bugler play “Reveille,” the sign of the beginning of a new day. “Taps” is goodnight down here – “Reveille” is good morning up there!

Henri Nouwen wrote, “What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning; what seemed to be a cause for fear proved to be a cause for courage; what seemed to be defeat proved to be victory; and what seemed to be the basis for despair proved to be the basis for hope. Suddenly a wall becomes a gate.”

Easter is not about the mystery of death, but the miracle of eternal life; it’s not about the Easter bunny, but the Perfect Lamb; it’s not about the golden egg, but about the streets of gold; it’s not about who might be right, but who is right!

It doesn’t matter where your body is buried, or if it’s buried at all. What matters is where your soul goes when you die. Being buried in a cathedral or expensive soil from the Holy Land or any other place doesn’t really matter in the long run – eternity is the longest run! Don’t make the grave mistake of prioritizing the grave!

A retired lady named Dee Parrish lived in Florida. She had a terminal illness. Due to volunteers from her church, she remained at home during her last days. Church people brought recordings of old hymns. Dee was listening to the hymn, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” when she died. Everybody just knew that when the roll was called up yonder, Dee answered, “Present!”

How will you answer?

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