NEVER TASTE OF DEATH!
“If a man keeps my words, he shall never taste death” (Jn 8:52).
This promise can only be made by God who alone has all authority over live and death. Because this promise is so wonderful, many would question it. Truth is that every word from the Lord is important, but unless we keep His words we will not escape death.
But what is death? It is the result man’s of disobedience of our Creator. It is not simply a penalty due to disobedience. Death stands over all men who know for certain that they will die, but death is not the end of anything but the beginning of something.
Lazarus was dead for four days, and his death caused much distress and sadness among his family and friends. Being separated by death greatly saddens those left behind who are wounded by their loss. Just as death is the result of disobedience, obedience is the cause of life, for there is no threat for obedience which is the cause of life. Christ arrived at the burial place where Lazarus had been laying, and after communicating with his sisters and others, He did what only God can do. He called Lazarus to “come forth” out of death into life.
Many have written about this subject, but it always good to hear over and over. Death is about reward and punishment, but why the fear of death among mankind? Both in the Holy Bibles and among the Church Fathers many have dealt with death. After death life continues but there is a separation of the good and evil. Those who have kept the word of God, says John the Theologian above shall never taste death. Before Christ, both the upright and sinners were dead and their souls were in Hades, with the faithful and unfaithful were hoping for a deliverer. When Christ called Lazarus, those in Hades saw him leaving death and Hades behind when he was called by Christ to “come forth”. They were afraid, amazed and greatly hoping in the possibility of their deliverance.
With the raising of four-days dead Lazarus, firmly established in the minds of all present that there is life after death. Lazarus, a good friend of Christ with his sisters, died a second time and is glorified in the Church with the title: “Four-day dead Lazarus.”
Christ accomplished His great work of putting death to death by His own death, which is a life-giving death. The Church sings over and over about Christ’s Crucifixion, death and third-day Resurrection.
“If a man keeps my words he shall never taste death.” Keeping the words of Christ means that those who do this will not taste death. Death is not feared by the great saints and martyrs because they well understood Christ’s triumph over death and nullifting its effect on His followers. Death for those who keep His words and love Him go through the door of death to the next life and escape judgment and condemnation, entering into eternal life, not by their works, but out of God’s great mercy. The bitter taste of death therefore is changed into the sweetness of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. But to those who remain sinners and unbelievers death is followed by judgment and is therefore bitter and there is no escape.
Those who will not experience the taste death have chosen to keep Christ’s commandments and so they lived. even in this sinful world, in His glorious resurrection, and they will not experience any bitterness nor have any regrets. The righteous, looking forward to death with the sincere hope of God’s mercy causes the fear of God to be present in their souls. This fear is not overbearing for it is a logical fear, for no one can consider himself worthy of everlasting life, even though he keeps Christ’s words and love Him, so they look to His great mercy and compassion hoping for eternal life.
Keeping Christ’s words not only results in not tasting death. The more we endeavor to keep His commandments, the more do we live as God intended us to live, using the gracious freedom He granted us to fulfill His will. Sin is death and Christ taught us to abandon all sin and proclaims: “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” nor taste death.