From Death to Eternal Life (2 Samuel 18:33) - Radical

From Death to Eternal Life (2 Samuel 18:33)

“And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!'”
– 2 Samuel 18:33

2 Samuel 18:33 is a picture of weeping in a fallen world. And there’s so much tragic in this story, in 2 Samuel 18, on so many different levels. But this 2 Samuel 18:33 specifically just shows the agony and the sorrow involved in seeing someone you love die.

God has taken the worst thing that could happen to us, death, and he has turned it into the best thing that could happen to us, eternal life.

David, the king says, “My son, my son, my son,” he says it five times. “My son,” he keeps repeating his name and saying, “I wish I had died instead of you.” Just the agony and the sorrow when you see someone you love die. I remember specifically reading this verse a couple of years ago when my wife’s grandmother had died and we were gathered together that day for her funeral. She was 103 years old. But I remember reading this verse and being reminded of the inevitability of death, even after 103 years. She was healthy for so many years, longer than most.

This Verse Reminds Us God has Victory Over Death

But the reality is until Jesus returns, every single one of us will eventually face death. And along the way, we will see others around us die. And I don’t mean to be depressing in this podcast episode, but I do mean to be eye opening.

Death is an inevitable reality in our lives and around us in this world, which leads us straight to the good news of the gospel and Jesus’ proclamation in John 11 that he is the resurrection and the life. And whoever believes in him, though he dies, yet shall he live. Oh, this is why Paul writes: We don’t grieve like the world grieves. We grieve with hope because we know that to live is Christ and to die is gain.

2 Samuel 18:33 Reminds Us of the Gospel

This is the great news of the gospel. God has taken the worst thing that could happen to us, death, and he has turned it into the best thing that could happen to us, eternal life. And so I would be remiss if I didn’t ask, even right now, not knowing who’s listening to this: Do you know for sure that if you were to die today, which could happen to any one of us, not one of us is guaranteed the next five minutes, do you know for sure that if you were to die today, you would go to heaven to be with God?

And so many people, I talk with their banking the answer to that question on a, “I hope so,” or, “I think so.” Or, “I think my good has outweighed my bad.” And if that’s where your hope is, if that’s where your mind goes, I want to urge you that is not what will bring you to heaven.

The only way you can have eternal life with God in heaven is through faith in Jesus, through trusting in Jesus as savior of your life, as the one who died on a cross to pay the price for all your sins and rose from the grave in victory over death, to trust in him as savior of your life and Lord of your life. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. I urge you: Place your faith in Jesus as savior and Lord today.

2 Samuel 18:33 Leads Us to Praise God

And then for all who have for all who know this gospel reality, for all who have security and eternal life after death through faith in Jesus, let’s make this known today. Let’s pray toward that end.

God, we praise you for taking death and turning it into life through the love of Christ on a cross and the power of Christ and his resurrection from the grave. We praise you that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Also, we praise you for hope. We praise you for hope in funerals, when someone who has died has died with faith in Christ and we know we will see them again. And we know they are with you, as I was reading the other day in 2 Corinthians 5 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. All glory be to your name, Lord Jesus, for conquering sin and death on our behalf, that we might have eternal life.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for the Unreached

So God, I pray that even as people are listening to this right now that you might grant eternal life. I pray that you might give faith in Jesus. And God, that you might give boldness to every single one of us who knows this gospel to proclaim this gospel today. God, help us to speak this gospel to somebody around us today. God, help us to feel the urgency of proclaiming the gospel right around us and far from us.

We pray today for 10 million Southern Pashtun in Afghanistan. God, we know that there are so few followers of Jesus among the Southern Pashtun of Afghanistan. This people group from which the Taliban predominantly comes, God, we pray for the spread of your grace and your love and your mercy among the Southern Pashtun of Afghanistan. Men, women, boys, girls, 10 million of them, hardly any of them even having access to the good news of salvation in Christ. They don’t know the good news of the one who has conquered sin and death.

We pray that the gospel would go to the Pashtun of Afghanistan and save. God, show your grace and your mercy for your glory. We pray the Southern Pashtun of Afghanistan and every people group in the world will know you. And that a weeping world surrounded by the inevitability of death would know the king whose love has conquered death. As well as that we might have eternal life with you. We pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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