“Pastor, I don’t know if I’m ready to die.” More than a few people, usually elderly, have said this to me as they’re on their deathbed. Maybe it’s a hospice bed or perhaps in a hospital.
What gives the person such uncertainty that they’re not sure they are ready to die? Well it’s the thing that’s behind dying. It’s the sin and the guilt that they know of from their own life and it terrorizes consciences and hearts, bodies, flesh that knows that it’s dying. It terrorizes your body and your mind too.
Even when it’s someone else that you love, it’s a pain and a struggle because you know that the same sin that is doing that to their own body has you in its crosshairs too.
How would one know that they are ready to die? The forgiveness of sins. The taking away of the power behind death, of the body, that’s what makes a person ready. When the aged Simeon in the temple, right after the baby Jesus was born, held Jesus in his hands Simeon knew he was ready to die. He said
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, …For my eyes have seen Your salvation.” (Luke 2:29-30)
Simeon held baby Jesus in his hands and he knew he was ready, at that moment or any moment to come, to go away in death but in peace. He had the forgiveness of sins in that little child.
When the Christian leaves the altar, the communion altar, they have received into themselves the body and blood of that child, of that sinless Son of God, then they are ready to go in death but in peace. Dear Christian depart in peace, your sins are forgiven. Amen.