AN old lady broke her leg. Lying in bed, she sighed. “I’ve been lying in this bed for 2 years and my leg still hasn’t healed. I can’t walk, it is too painful! Pastor, can you pray for me so that I can die earlier?”
I asked her, “Do you know where you will go after you leave this world?”
“I don’t know!” she answered.
“You don’t know? Isn’t that too dangerous? Do you know if you are going to heaven or hell after death?”
“I don’t know!”
“Now it may be painful on this earth. But in hell the pain will be worse! How can you avoid hell and go to heaven?”
“I don’t know!”
Dear friends, do you know where people go after they die? Do you know where you will go after you leave this world?
No one knows. Only Jesus Christ, who came from heaven, knows. Only Jesus Christ, who has been to hell, knows. He said, 19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’” (Luke 16)
Two placesto go after death
Jesus spoke of two places that people go after they die: paradise (with Abraham, also known as heaven. The Bible has other terms for it including the heavenly home, New Jerusalem, the 3rd heaven, the beautiful homeland), and Hades (a place of suffering, also known as hell. At the end Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire – refer to Revelation 20:14).
Abraham is the father of faith, because he believed in God’s words, and was accepted by God as righteous, so he entered heaven. Lazarus by Abraham’s side showed that he had the same faith. The root name of Lazarus means “God has helped”, showing that he believed in God’s help to reach paradise for peace and comfort.
The rich man believed in his own riches, not in God. He only knew how to spend his life in luxury, living out his days selfishly. So in the end he was sent to hell to suffer.
Before Jesus left this earth, he said to his disciples, “1Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?… 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14)
The only way to heaven
It is clear that the only path to heaven is through Jesus. And the only way is by believing – believing in God, believing in Jesus. Because only Jesus Christ died for your sins and mine, and rose on the 3rd day. Only he bore our sins and death that all who believe in him will have their sins forgiven, be made whole, and enter heaven.
Remember that old lady? After explaining a few times, she finally understood. Only Jesus is her Savior, so that after leaving this world, she can enter heaven and enjoy eternal blessings, instead of leaving the suffering of this world to enter hell and endure greater and longer suffering.
Dear friends, do you understand? After we die, there are only two places we can go: heaven or hell. Only one way will help you get into heaven: Believe in Jesus. I invite you right now to trust in Jesus as your personal Savior. You can have the assurance of entering heaven right now, because the words Jesus said on the cross to the criminal who trusted him are the words he is also saying to you: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Rev Dr Tie King Tai