Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Not a Word

You might think that our concern about our own mortality is universal - that all men across all times have shared this same concern. But there's something interesting in the biblical witness that we have to consider: 

Jesus never tells us about it, and no one ever asks. 

Jesus died, rose again, and walked around talking about the Kingdom of God, not eternity in Heaven. He never talked about what He did in that tomb for three days. He never spoke of the glories that He saw to come. He didn't spend any of His time talking about the next life; His entire focus was this one, and us having it abundantly. 

Which is one thing, yeah, sure. We've even talked about it before. But look at what the disciples are talking about - they're talking about Jesus. With the resurrected Jesus.

The disciples aren't talking about eternity. They aren't asking about heaven. They aren't begging Him for more information about what happens after we die. They, too, are focused on life with Jesus, life now, life abundant and the Kingdom of God, which is here among us. 

In fact, if we are a people whose sole focus is on eternity, then the answers Jesus gives when He is asked about these things are wholly unsatisfying to our own curiosity. 

The Sadducees come and ask Him a question about marriage in the afterlife, about whose wife a woman will be if she married seven different brothers but had no children with any of them. And the answer Jesus gives them is that the next life is not like this one. Then everyone moves on. There are no follow-up questions. No one's asking what He means when He says that. Everyone just marvels at His wisdom and moves on. 

A rich man came up to Him and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor (in addition to loving God and loving neighbor), and the man walks away sad. No one asks what the man is missing if he misses eternal life. No one asks what the man will have in heaven. No one asks what the life the man's asking about will be like. 

The living God walked among the streets of Jerusalem and the surrounding region for thirty-three years (ish), and so few asked Him about eternity that we can count them on one hand, even after He conquered death and came back to life and showed that there was something more after this life. 

Could it be that we are a people who put too big an emphasis on eternity? On heaven? I mean, if Jesus isn't talking about it and the disciples aren't asking, it's fairly unique, actually, in the grand human story that we hinge so much of our own faith on it. That this is what we stake our hearts on. 

Could we be missing something here? Could our own human insecurity about mortality be blinding us to something greater even than heaven? 

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