Death and the Good News of Jesus Christ

You'll have to bear with me as my next few posts will likely revolve around death.


My wife's mother recently passed away after an on-and-off battle with cancer. I was asked to speak at the funeral service and this meant my gospel study was taken over by this topic.


Here is the talk I gave at the funeral services if you're interested:


---


The word gospel comes from the Old English word godspel, which means “god-story.” [1] The English translators of the King James Bible used the word godspel as the translation for two Greek words found in the New Testament— neither of which I can pronounce, but which mean “good news,” and “to proclaim the good news.” [2]


So, when we refer to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are referring to the “good news of Jesus Christ.”


On a sad occasion such as this, I would like to share some of the “good news” Jesus Christ provides for you and I. But I know that no one came here to hear me speak, so I’ve cut down my “good news” from 85 points to just 6.


(Good News #1) This is not the end.


The prophet Job questioned, “If a man die, shall he live again?” Jesus Christ answered clearly when he said, “…I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”


Many of us wonder what happens after we die. Some believe we cease to exist, while others believe we got to heaven or hell. Many just cling to hope that there is something more than this life. But the scriptures clearly teach us that because Jesus overcame death, we will continue to live after we die. Knowing God’s plan, and that death is part of it, can give comfort and peace when someone we love leaves too early. While we mourn for those loved ones we’ve lost, there is hope—death is not the end.


Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught that, “The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.”


I testify that Brenda is not gone. There is life after death.


(Good News #2) Leaving this earth life is literally going home


Quoting James E. Faust, “Suffering might indeed be unfair if everything ended at death, but it doesn’t. Life is not like a one-act play. It has three acts. We had a past act, when we were in the premortal existence; and now we have a present act, which is mortality; and we will have a future act, when we return to God.”


If in the premortal existence, we looked forward to birth, which was the leaving of our heavenly parents, how much more we must have looked forward to death, which would be the essential step in the coming home!


Think of the feelings you have, after a long absence, returning to the familiarity and comforts of the place you call home. I believe this will pale in comparison to the joy we experience as we return to our heavenly home.


I testify that Brenda has returned to her heavenly home.


(Good News #3) Troubles, trials and pains come to an end


For me, this is the most comforting and hopeful piece of good news.


In the book of Revelation we read, “…God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain...”


And in the Book of Mormon, Alma taught, …that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”


Doesn’t that sound wonderful! It almost makes you want to die. I feel certain that when I pass, and I see how wonderful the next life is, I’ll wonder why I didn’t eat more gluten.

I testify that Brenda has been freed from the pain that plagued her for so many years.


(Good News #4) Loved ones are reunited


President John Taylor so comfortingly taught us that, “While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.”


The prophet Joseph Smith also taught, “I have a father, brothers, children, and friends who have gone to a world of spirits. They are only absent for a moment. They are in the spirit, and we shall soon meet again. ... When we depart, we shall hail our mothers, fathers, friends, and all whom we love, who have fallen asleep in Jesus. …it will be an eternity of felicity.”


How can this piece of good news not bring you peace? Just envision Brenda being embraced by her parents, friends, and her dear daughter Jolayne.


I testify that Brenda is having a joyous reunion with all those loved ones that went before.


(Good News #5) Loved ones can provide help and comfort for those left behind.


In the Doctrine and Covenants, God has promised that: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up”


We have been promised angels to help us through this mortal journey.


President Joseph F. Smith took this teaching a step further. He said, “When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred [and] friends. … our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, … may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction...”


Doesn’t that make perfect sense? If there is to be help from heaven, it will come from those who know and love us best and who desire to help us most.


I testify that Brenda will continue to be a force in your life. She will do all she can to help you.

(Finally, Good News #6) Peace is available for those that mourn


In the New Testament, we read of a time where Jesus was healing the sick along the shore of the sea of Galilee. As it neared evening, the account states that “great multitudes” came to blessed by this extraordinary man. Likely in a desire for some type of respite from the throngs of people, he asked his disciples to take him over to the other side of the sea.


Jesus found a resting place on the ship and soon fell asleep. Meanwhile, a great storm arose. The wind raged, waves beat over the sides, the boat was about to go under. Terror-stricken, the disciples awakened Jesus, crying out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”


How many of us have cried out the same words in our times of terror and distress? God, “Carest not that I suffer?”, “Carest not that I mourn?”, “Carest not that this feels like more than I can bear?”


Returning to the account, we read, “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8 & Mark 4)

With the same power Jesus had to calm the wind and the waves, he can calm your troubled heart. He can provide the peace you desire.


I testify that through Jesus Christ you can find peace and hope during this time of lost love.

Let us all rejoice in the good news that truly is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice that death is not the end. Let us rejoice that we can all return to our heavenly home. Let us all rejoice that the pain and troubles of mortal life do not follow us into the next. Let us rejoice that families can be together forever. And let us rejoice in the peace Jesus Christ can bring.


Let me end with a final quote from Joseph B. Wirthlin, “I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. … I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, [that] Friday was the darkest. But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. … Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.”


I testify to you that Brenda lives on. I have no doubt of this. With the same certainty I know she is happy.


There is no death, only change.


I leave these thoughts with you, in the name of he who makes that possible, Jesus Christ, Amen.




Never miss a post
Sign up here and I'll shoot you an email when I post something new.
No spam. I promise! 

Thanks for submitting!

Recent Posts

*Email address must be confirmed before your comment will be posted :)