Maybe the best verse in the Bible

“….our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel….” (II Timothy 1:10)

Slam-dunk, this is as good as it gets.

Why do we owe so much to Jesus? Why has eternity changed for us? Why do we go forward with our heads held high, undaunted by the unknown?  Because Jesus Christ abolished death and brought to light life and immortality.

It makes a world of difference.

This is part of a larger sentence, one that starts with 1:8 and continues through verse 11. The larger thought–the full context–is much broader than that, even.

The entire thing is a mother lode of insight, inspiration, and instruction.

You and I live in a dying world. Every day of our lives, someone near us deals with death in one way or other. We all know people who are going to funerals, have just been to funerals, or are making plans for one. We look in the mirror and see signs of creeping old-age–the advance never stops until it overtakes us!–and make our little jokes about birthdays and cosmetic surgery and not liking to have our picture made.

But the laughter is hollow. The reality is there and no teasing can diminish it.

We hate death with a passion.

It’s quite all right to hate death and despise dying. Jesus hated death so much He broke up every funeral procession he met by raising the dead. Paul calls death “the last enemy to be destroyed” (I Corinthians 15:26).

The more I think about death–my parents are both gone now and their remaining five children are all in our 70s now–the more I find myself drawn to a few choice Scriptures. Consider this from Hebrews 2:14-15….

“….He Himself also partook of (flesh and blood), that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

Jesus died to disarm Satan  (who was scaring everyone with death) and set free everyone paralyzed by the fear of dying.

How good is that!

Those who are in Christ–the saved, His disciples, the redeemed–should have no fear of death. Otherwise, we ignore what Jesus accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection.

And, there is Psalm 17:15…

“But as for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awaken.”

That is a precious assurance that although I will die, afterwards I will awaken, I will see the Lord, and whatever that is like, I’ll be satisfied with it. (That suits me just fine!)

And, then II Timothy 1:10, the strongest assurance of them all…

“…(Jesus) abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.”(Vs. 11 too)

1) Jesus abolished death.

He did? It’s still flying around, scaring the children and everyone in the house, isn’t it?

Abolished, yes, but not destroyed. Like the bee that has lost its stinger (see I Corinthians 15:55), death is still scaring people but cannot do us any permanent damage.  (See Matthew 10:28)

2) Brought life and immortality to light.

“Life and immortality” were there all along. Jesus pointed to insights from Old Testament scriptures to emphasize this, that “God is not the God of dead people, but the living” (Matthew 22:32).

What the Lord Jesus did (through “the gospel”–Heaven’s good news to planet earth) was to bring these promises “to light.” To uncover them, to reveal them, to drive home their reality. “Because He lives, we live also.”

3) For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.

Seminary classes wrestle with the distinctions between all these terms. For what it’s worth, my take on them is that the Lord has called (appointed) certain ones to…

–preach this news. The idea is of a “herald,” one proclaiming a message from the king. We announce to everyone what God has done in Christ.

–as apostles, to take this news to other lands and other cultures. We are missionaries and evangelists.

–as teachers. In this role, we stand in the company of believers opening God’s Word to share its insights.

“For this reason,”Paul continues to his friend Timothy, “I suffer these things” and “I am not ashamed.”

–This message of the end of death and the revealing of life and immortality should have been welcomed by every member of the human race. But it wasn’t. In fact, Paul was a prisoner (1:8) as a result of preaching this message, and would soon be executed for such a crime.

Tell me if mankind is not warped to do such a thing to those bringing the best message ever!

“I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

We walk forward into the future with heads held high, our hearts anticipating the incredible blessings promised by the risen Savior, and a giggle spilling from our lips. “This is going to be wonderful,” we say to ourselves.

Indeed. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (I Cor. 15:57)


One thought on “Maybe the best verse in the Bible

  1. I will tell my loved ones now that I sincerely hope the last sound they hear from these dying lips will be a giggle of anticipation. “Ooooh, I can’t wait.”

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