Is there an answer to death? | City Bible Forum

Is there an answer to death?

Is death the end? Rob Martin shares about an encounter at a graveside.
Sun 14 Oct 2018


Bible reference(s): John 11:17-44

The tables are turned, the hunter has become the hunted as Andrew Laird interviews regular Bigger Questions host about some of life's biggest questions:

What are we to make of death? How would you feel at a graveside? Is there hope or do we just become stardust? How do we know that God is really there?

Hear Robert's encounter with death and reflections at a graveside. Also hear how we can know that God is real. Hear how another encounter with Jesus at a graveside could change our lives forever. A personal and moving conversation.

This episode of Bigger Questions was recorded under the show's previous name 'Logos Live', and before a live audience in September 2015 as a part of the Encounters with Jesus series.

The Encounters with Jesus series was inspired by the book Encounters with Jesus by Tim Keller.

Help us keep asking Bigger Questions. Support the show for as little as US$1 per podcast on Patreon.

Bigger questions asked in the conversation

The people who met Jesus Christ in person faced the same big life questions we face today. But when they met Him things immediately started to change for them. In this series of Bigger Questions, Encounters with Jesus, we explore how the central events and meetings in Jesus life’ can change our own lives forever.

Now, you may be asking at this point where is your usual host Robert Martin? Well today the tables have turned. Instead of being interview-er today’s guest on Bigger Questions is…Robert Martin. That’s right, sitting beside me is your usual host. I’m going to be interviewing him. You might say the hunter has become the hunted.

Smaller Questions

Today on Logos Live we’re considering a fairly heavy topic. It’s an encounter with Jesus at a graveside. But we do try to have a bit of fun on the show, so to begin we’re going to have a quick quiz Rob to test how much you know about what Australians think about death?

Talking about death

You frequently interact with atheists who do talk to you about death. They say that it’s the end. There’s nothing after. What do you think of that view?

Another response is to shake your fist at death, a response captured powerfully by the poet Dylan Thomas. Many may be familiar with these lines from his famous poem: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. Do you think that death is something which is raged against, resisted and fought at all costs?

Rob's story of the death of his mum

Rob for you death has been a painful intrusion in very recent times. Do you think you might be able to share with us what has been your experience with death recently?

- So completely unexpected?

- What do you remember of that day when you heard the news?

- So a complete intrusion?

Dylan Thomas talks about rage, rage in the face of death. Is that how you felt?

Jesus at a graveside: John 11

I want to come back to your mother’s death in a moment. But we’re thinking today about encounters with Jesus. And there is one famous occasion where Jesus encounters death. It’s recorded for us in John 11. Here Jesus is at the tomb of a dear friend of his, Lazarus. Set the scene for us – what’s happening here?

The sisters ask virtually the same question of Jesus when He arrives - verse 21 and 32 – “Lord if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”. What do you make of the different responses Jesus gives to them?

What do you make of Jesus’ response to the reality of death? Am I right in saying this passage actually points to some of that rage in the face of death that Dylan Thomas wrote about?

V38 Literally speaks of Jesus “bellowing with anger”

One writer says of this verse “Jesus is raging against death. He doesn’t say, ‘Look just get used to it. Everybody dies’. Jesus is looking squarely at our greatest nightmare – the loss of life, the loss of loved ones and of love – and he’s incensed. He’s mad at evil and suffering”. How is that a comfort to us in death?

But Jesus does more than sympathise. He makes an extraordinary claim doesn’t he?


You’ve told me Rob that this claim really struck you in the face of your mother’s death. How so?

And what did you conclude?

Let me share with you the story of another person at a graveside. An atheist woman recorded these words after burying a loved one:

“In my adult life I believed in God for about thirty seconds…when they buried my son. There was an incredibly vivid sense of this departing spirit going…away. Then I came to my senses”.

This is one woman at a graveside. In the same situation you concluded something very different. Why are you so sure Jesus’ words aren’t a hoax but it’s real hope?

So God must come and reveal Himself?

Some will object and say that He’s lying, or perhaps even mad. How would you respond?

Do you still fear death?

“Everyone who believes in me will never die – ever”? It is plain that your mother has died, isn’t it?

Do we not need to then “rage against the dying of the light”? We can walk into death confidently, without fear?

The Big Question

So Rob, encountering God Himself. How does an encounter with Jesus at a graveside provide an answer to perhaps life’s biggest question, death?

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