Knowing Jesus does not make death easier to accept. On the contrary, it makes death hope-filled. Death is not easy. I think this is what Luke wanted us to feel when he reported in Acts 12:2 of the death of James. I believe Luke wanted us to empathize with John, the brother of James. John lost his brother. Luke wants us to join John in the feeling of loss. Death is not easy. My mother lost a husband. My brothers lost a Dad. I have cried more times than I can count since my Dad’s transition November 22nd. Those tears were not tears of joy but sadness, deep sadness. I know, if I remain in this world, I will experience that sadness many more times as loved ones transition out of time and space as we presently perceive it. Simultaneously, I celebrate because my Dad heard the voice of the Son of Man and now he lives with him (John 5:25).
I saw my Dad’s heart respond to Jesus in humility. I saw him fight sin. I saw him pursue reconciliation. I saw him love. I saw him drink the milk of God’s word. I saw him change like a caterpillar to a butterfly. I anticipate seeing him again. I remember the words of Jesus, “You cannot follow me now, but you will follow later” (John 13:36). See you later, Dad.
Jesus said, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25, 26).