Word of God

Not Dead, but Sleeping

When he entered he said to them, “Why are you distressed and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”

[Mark 5:39 NET]

The Christian should not sorrow as others do. Christ has brought the truth of immortality out into clear light. We ought to familiarize our minds with the Christian conception of death. Christ wrote no whiter lines anywhere than He wrote over the gateway of the believer’s grave. We ought to learn to look at death in the light of Christ’s teachings. Too many Christians, however, never seem to have entered into the blessedness of the Saviour’s victory over the grave. Here, in the account of this miracle of the raising of the ruler’s daughter, we have a beautiful illustration of the way our Lord would have us look at death.

When we lament over our dead he says, “They are not dead, but sleeping. Why do you make all this bitter lamentation?” Our Christian friends who have died have only passed away out of our sight. They have not ceased to be. Even their bodies only sleep. And as a mother in the morning calls her children and awakes them, so Christ will some day call up from their graves all who sleep in him.

Sleep is not a terrible experience; it renews and strengthens the weary body. So the sleep and death is a time of rest and renewal. The calling of this child back from death, and her restoration to her friends, represented what Christ will do for all his people at the end. He will restore friend to friend, and bind up again the broken fragments of households.

There is one point, however, in which the raising of this young girl does not illustrate the final resurrection of believers. She was brought back to resume the old life of toil, struggle, temptation, and sorrow, and to die again. But in the final resurrection believers shall rise to a new, glorious, and immortal life, without sorrow or sin, in the fullness of life, joy, and blessedness.

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