In memory of Wendy Schiller: Matthew 28:20b

“I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20) “Where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

There is one fact of life that is right into our faces today. This one… [the grave] … this is where we all will end. Without exception. With 100% success rate. We can’t change it. We can possibly postpone it a little bit…

If we are really smart about how we live, what we eat, what we do, etc. We can possibly move it closer, if we are not smart and live foolishly, but we can’t change this one fact. This is where we all will end up.

Me, and everyone of you. For most of us that is not what we think when we wake up on morning. “I am going to die…” But moments like this one brings it to our attention as clearly and loudly as possible.

You are going to die, and nothing can change that fact. But there are things that we can change. I would argue – things that should be changed. And that is first – how we go about our life on this side of the grave, and second – which flows out of the first one – where will our future be on that side of the grave.

And I think that these two do matter much more than the fact of death. For death is not something in itself, it is just like a door. Our walk of life in this age ends at this door, and through this door we enter in what will follow after.

We don’t stay in the door. The door leads us into something else. And where it will lead you depends on one thing and one thing only. Actually, it isn’t a thing. It is a person. Otherwise put – where the door of death will lead you depends on with whom you go through this door. That simple.

What do I mean? Let’s see. This was Wendy’s confirmation verse. “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” These are words of Jesus Christ. They are not just words. They contain the most beautiful promise.

This is not just someone who gives this promise. This is the one Person, the only Person who has all authority in heaven and on earth. It means that everything is in His hands. Everything is under His control. Every second of your life. Every single event in this visible world and the world invisible.

He is all powerful. He has no beginning and He has no end. He was in the beginning and everything that there is was made through Him and for Him, and everything that exists is held together by Him and is heading to the end that He has determined – New Heavens and New Earth.

He is in charge of life and of death. He is the sources of life, as He demonstrated it so many times when He lived among us. It is not just about the life in this age, which quickly runs out, but about the true life, everlasting life that will never end, but will keep bursting forward and overflowing forever. That is Him, Jesus Christ, true God, your Creator and your Redeemer, who invites everyone to share in His life, who wants everyone to taste His goodness and to be able to enjoy forever what He has prepared for those who love Him.

“I am with you till the end of this age.” If only you wish to be with Him. And sadly, but so many keep saying – “no, I don’t care”. Wendy responded to this gracious invitation by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And she lived rejoicing in this promised fulfilled. God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit was with her every moment of her life. And His presence makes the whole difference.

If the true God is with you, you literary live in a different world. Everything is different. Everything is so much more beautiful and meaningful. Everything is so much more joyful and hopeful.

When we realize that we dwell is the world created by this gracious and faithful God, when you learn how much you mean for Him, and how much He cares for you, and how much He has done and does for you…

… when you experience His presence, and His peace, when you know with your whole heart that He is with you, it is a very different life. But that is just the first part, and the least important. But then comes the most important one.

Again, Jesus said: “Where I am you will be also.” If you accept His gentle invitation, if you want to live with Him in this age, then you will not need to walk through death alone. Then death has lost its power to frighten you.

He will walk with you and He will lead you out on the other side, as He Himself did it before. Then you will be with Him, with God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit where He is.

You will enjoy the blessedness and indescribable beauty and wonders of what He has prepared for those who love Him. Then you will see Jesus Christ, the Son of God as He is and more – you will be made like Him.

That is His promise to all who want to be with Him. Wendy responded to Jesus’ invitation, she walked with His through this challenging and often painful life, she walked with Him through this door, and now she is with her Creator and Redeemer. She made it… thanks be to God!

This one fact of life steers at us, implacable… and if we are on our own, we are doomed. But thanks be to God that He keeps inviting us, each one of you – “come to me, and I will be with you till the end, and then you will be with me where I am”.

I pray that we all would respond to this gentle call and would see what He has prepared for us.

Amen.

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