“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life . . . Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. ” (John 5:24, 40 NIV2)
The battle had been brutal, so ruthless. By the end, the field was so completely covered in bodies that anyone who tried to walk there couldn’t even put their foot on the ground. Both the Union and the Confederate soldiers had fought so hard for victory. Sadly, no one was even aware of this slaughter, for both the Confederate and the Union armies had other battles on the go around Gettysburg that day. It took two days before anyone even ventured out to see what happened.
Brazila, a soldier who had been badly wounded, somehow survived the ordeal. He was quite happy to have his sword with him, for the aftermath of the battle was even more frightening than the battle itself. Hogs ran loose on the field, stripping the flesh of dead soldiers from their bodies. Brazila’s blade was his only protection against these vicious pigs, and he was indeed relieved when two days later, he was finally rescued. Though the nightmare was over, it would never be forgotten. The soldiers in that wheatfield not only fought desperately for victory, but also to simply survive. Most of them never made it, but they did everything in their power to stay alive.
Each one of us would do anything to survive. We search far and wide to find cures for our diseases, and how much money is spent on remedies that don’t even work? We would be willing to give away all of our fortune, all of our belongings, if only our lives could continue on. Look at Kim II Sung, leader of North Korea. He has ordered his doctors to find a way so that he can live to be hundred years old. I am certain these doctors work extra hard, for their lives also depend on their finding the secret to extending their leader’s life!
Isn’t it interesting that though we would do anything to live longer, we don’t even realize that living for eternity is simply a question of accepting the offer Jesus brings us through the cross. He sacrificed himself so that we could have the choice to return to our Eternal Father and experience life without end.
It baffles me when people refuse to even consider the life Jesus promises us. When He rose from the dead, He brought hope to humanity. Death is not the end. Eternal life has been offered to each one of us. What we do with that offer is up to us; however, those who welcome Jesus into their lives begin to enjoy the benefits of such a decision. They are never alone, for Jesus is constantly with them. Inner peace reigns in their hearts, and they never have to worry about anything as long as their trust is securely anchored in their Savior, who always comes through. They don’t worry how long they will live on this planet, for their future is assured. They are the ones who are truly alive: Not temporarily; but for eternity!
You may be holding on dearly to your life, sword in hand. Sooner or later, however, each one of us will pass away. There is no doubt about that! It is now that you have the opportunity to fully accept the eternal life offered by the only One who willingly died for you so that you would have a choice. What will you do with the offer?
(To access the entire “Alive” devotional series, please click here.)