November 30, 2009

Home Again, Home at Last

Genesis 50:4-14

They … buried [Jacob] in the cave … which Abraham had bought.
Genesis 50:13


Death puts an end to things. No more laughter or crying, no more enjoying the sun or pulling weeds. Christians firmly believe that death is the end of this life. They also believe it is the beginning of the next.

When Jacob died in Egypt, his body was prepared for the afterlife according to Egyptian custom. But Egypt’s technology could not bring him into the presence of the God of Abraham. Jacob had asked his sons to bury him in the family plot, the cave of Machpelah.

Jacob would never again see the promised land, but he would come home. Together with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah he would begin the fulfillment of God’s greatest gift: life eternal in God’s presence. Burial in the cave of Machpelah was the last stage of a long journey to that promised future.

No matter how this world prepares our bodies for burial, or where or how we die, death is not the end of the good life for all who are buried in the family plot designed by Jesus Christ. The good life begins with dying to our sin through faith in Christ.

Christians know they have no lasting home in this world. Not even our own bodies and minds are ours. If in life we belong to Jesus Christ through whom God has fully forgiven all our sins, so in death we are the Lord’s.

Believe it.

Lord, I believe that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. Keep me in that faith always, knowing you are with me now and forever. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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