What He Calls Death
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
(1 Cor. 15:55).
He has three names for death. He calls it a falling asleep. He is using one of the phrases which daring and trustful men had coined, and He is giving it proof and reality. When He stands beside the bed of Jairus’ little daughter He softly says, “Talitha cumi,” “My little lambie, arise.”
He calls it a going to the Father. This is the word which remained unspoken until the end, but it was His most cherished thought. When He gathers His disciples together in the upper room, and He is upon the eve of His dying, then the word is like a refrain in a song, a recurring note of music in His addresses. Again and again He repeats, “I go to My Father.” He is like an emigrant who has been for years in another hemisphere and in the land of strangers. He has been busy with its life and its industries. He has endured its hardships and isolation. Now the time of His sojourn is over and the hour of His return is come. He is going to the Father. He is going home.
He calls it, in the conversation, by a singular word. “They spake of His decease.” In the literal and significant meaning of the word it was His “exodus. “We cannot doubt why the word was chosen. It is the thought of death from the point of view of one who is about to go out by it as by a door. How full of light is this word. Death is an exodus, a going out from the land of the stranger, from the house of bondage, from affliction and thankless toil, from the state of the slave. Death is a deliverance and a boon. It is a going through a wilderness, with its loneliness and its pain and privation, but it is a going through a wilderness upon a journey which is to end in the land which is the promise of God.