A Good Death?

They say that two things are certain: death and taxes. April 15th has come and gone. We’ve paid our taxes or filed our extensions—delaying the inevitable.

Death comes to us all. It is the great equalizer. The rich man in a mansion and the poor man on the street corner both end up in a six foot hole in the dirt. “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.”

Death may equalize us, but not all deaths are equal. A nurse worked with a well-known atheist at his death. Shortly after she served a Christian in his last hours. She knew neither patient but asked the Christian’s family, “Is this man a Christian?” They responded by saying, “Yes, he is a man who lives in the fear of God, but why do you ask?” Her answer:  “For all the wealth of Europe, I would never see another infidel die.”

She stared in the face the difference between someone who had hope in death and someone who had none. She would have been glad never to see hopelessness again.

As we think about the sacrifice of Jesus, we see in him the ultimate “good death.” No one took his life—he gave it willingly. He didn’t go kicking and screaming. He didn’t plead for an appeal or a second chance. He didn’t raise an angry fist to God and say, “This isn’t fair!” He didn’t bargain or try to bribe his way out of it. Instead, he carried his cross and he gave his life for you and for me. His death was so special that even the executioners couldn’t help but notice. “This was a righteous man!” “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Jesus showed us the path to a good death. As he hung on the cross, he quoted scripture that directed him in life and sustained him in death: Psalm 31:5 “Into your hand I commit my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”

Want to live a good life and die a good death? Commit your spirit to the faithful redeeming hand of God.