Have you ever seen a tombstone that has the letters R. I. P. on it? I think we probably know what those letters mean. Rest In Peace. Maybe most often we see it around Halloween time, people have fake gravestones in their front yard with R. I. P. written on them. In fact it was something that was very common during the seventeen hundreds a lot of people had those letters placed on the gravestone or those words rest in peace.
When we hear that today we might wonder what it really means. Did it mean that their bones weren’t to be disturbed? Or maybe that people were not to besmirch the name of the dead, but rather let them rest in peace? No, it was none of that. In fact the original intention of those letters or those words was concerning one’s soul that their soul would rest eternally in peace.
It’s a nice thought isn’t it? When we depart this life how can we be sure that we rest in peace that our souls rest in peace eternally? Is it maybe by having that chiseled on our gravestone? By no means.
In God’s Word we hear about a man by the name of Simeon. A believer that God had given a special promise that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. He wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah Jesus Christ. So he waited for many, many years until finally one day the Holy Spirit led him to go into the temple and drew him to a young couple holding a baby. This was no ordinary couple. It was no ordinary child. But the baby that they held in their arms was that Messiah the Christ. Simeon took up that child and he said these very familiar words from Luke Chapter Two:
Lord, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)
Really says that he is ready to be dismissed or ready to depart in peace. He’s ready to die in peace. Why? He had seen the Lord’s Christ. He’d seen the fulfillment of God’s promises. So too for us. We have seen the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Messiah, in Jesus Christ the one who has come into the world for us and for our sin. Knowing him as our Savior we are ready to die and we will die in peace. Our souls can be at peace forever eternally trusting in Jesus Christ.
So do you want to rest in peace? Well don’t seek to simply put those letters on your tombstone. Rest in peace knowing your Savior Jesus Christ your Savior from sin, Amen.