The row of tiny ducklings waddles across a busy street, guarded by the flashing lights of a police cruiser. A young boy hangs upside down, his ankles held by a friend as he scoops a kitten out of a dangerous spot. The rescuers hoot with glee as a stranded baby whale swims off to join its pod. We’ve all seen these kinds of videos of animal rescues, and we all cheer. We may even shed a tear or two.
Have you ever wondered why? Why are there scores of these animal rescue videos out there and why do they touch us so deeply? No doubt it’s because the animals are so helpless. We know that without human intervention they would surely die. But I wonder if there isn’t another, deeper reason. Could it be we are gripped by rescue of any kind because we know we are all in need of it? Could it be that at the core of our being we know we are as vulnerable and as helpless at that tiny kitten?
I believe so. I believe that all of us recognize our mortality. We don’t want it to happen. No one wants to die. We all would choose to live for just one more day. But we all know our time on this earth is limited. Perhaps we cheer at those rescue videos because they say, “Not today.”
Fear of death is a common malady. We all own it. No doubt it stems from the fact that death is the only true unknown. We can’t research it. Google “the afterlife” and all you get is speculation. We just don’t know for sure what lies beyond.
But there is good news. And there is a way for us to cheat death, not just for the moment, not just for one day, but for eternity. We can’t do it on our own. We are as helpless in this as that beached whale. But there is One who will rescue us, One who came to this earth for that very purpose. His name is Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that it is possible to live forever in His presence.
The writer of 1 Corinthians said: “The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law.” (1Cor.15:56). There is no escaping it by our own devices. Sin is a reality, it is part of us, and it will, some day, result in our death. But that writer also said, “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting? … thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor.15:55,57).
Jesus gives us the victory because He removes the sin, “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Jesus gives us His righteousness and takes on our sin and our punishment for it, in the moment we say yes to Him; in the moment we agree that sin is in us; in the moment we agree that we need rescue.
With His cloak of righteousness around us there is no need to fear death. We can know what lies beyond – an eternity lived in His presence.