Friday, April 01, 2005

IN HIM WAS LIFE - JOHN 1:4 Final Thoughts on Terri Schiavo

Terri Schiavo died yesterday. Her life and death has created a stumbling stone in the history of this nation. The popular voice cried out for her to be cared for and continue to live. However America’s legal system said that she had the “right to die” and what her husband perceived as her wishes should be carried out.

Though perhaps her mind did not function, she was not on life support. She could breath on her own. Her vital organs were in working order. She could not feed herself, but the technology has been around for many years to provide for those in her situation to have their life sustained. One of my best friends was in this same situation. And though his body died and he went home, he was not murdered as was Terri Schiavo.

It would have been easier and less painful for her if she had been given a lethal dose of medication. However our Justice System ordered that she no longer receive nourishment or life giving water.

Terri Schiavo was starved and dehydrated to death.

I was reminded that before Chancellor Adolph Hitler instituted the Nazi pogroms against all Jews, before he took his nation to war with Europe, before he took his nation to war with the world, he issued a decree to Germany’s citizens that the feeble, the chronically ill, the disabled, the mentally challenged and the homeless should be starved and not given any water. This was his Final Solution. It was carried out.

I have done a word search of all of the Gospels of the New Testament using the New International Version of the Bible to look for the word “Life”.

The word Life is mentioned one-hundred and two times in the Gospels. More often it is Jesus that speaks the word Life in the Gospels passages. In fact the word Life is only mentioned by others in the Gospels nine times. Ninety three times does Jesus speak the word Life.

Conversely , the word Death is mentioned thirty-eight times. Twenty-four times it is spoken by Jesus and fourteen times it is spoken by others.

The word Dead is mentioned fifty-seven times.

I noted in my word search that when others allude to the resurrection of the Messiah i.e. the prophets or the resurrection of Jesus i.e. the disciples or the narrator, they use the word dead, as in “raised from the dead”. This phrase occurs nine times in the Gospels. Only once does Jesus speak this phrase to His disciples in Matthew 17:9. In this verse the word Nekros is used, which can be literally translated - a corpse or dead. “ The five other times that Jesus speaks of His resurrection he states that he will be “raised to Life.”

In the New Testament there are so many different words that are translated into English as Life, but also have other, more intense meanings in the original Greek. For example, when Jesus states that He will be raised to life in Matthew, He uses two different words in two different passages. In one he uses Egiros, which is a verb meaning raise or lift up. In another verse from Matthew He uses Anistemi, another verb which has a similar meaning, raise up again, rise up again or stand up. However in Matthew 20:28, He states that “...the Son of Man has come to give His Life as a ransom for many.” The Greek word for life used here is psuche (psoo-kay). This is a noun. The literal translation for psuche is breath, i.e., (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely, which is the rational for the immortal soul; these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew for: heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

We can determine by the many references in the Bible that life is certainly a paramount aspect of God’s New Covenant.

The Schiavo epic brings to mind the events of Matthew 27. Jesus is bound over to the government of that day (governor Pilate) by the interpreters of the law (the Pharisees and the Sadducees). The interpreters of the law do not want this dissident to continue living. His life goes against their interpretation of what proper life should be.

The government hears the case and issues it’s ruling. The high court, Governor Pilate opts out judgement, as did our Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court. Both Supreme Courts essentially washed their hands of this matter, as did Pilate. Pilate allowed the decision of the lower court, the High Priest Ciaphas to stand. Pilate asks the people what they want. Today our media asks this same question utilizing Zogby and Gallup polls which were not available in 3 A.D. The results were the same, for then as now, the screams and cries of the loudest prevailed. “Give us the murdering thief Barabas. Set him free. Crucify the other guy, Jesus.”

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, a wise man once said.

Terri’s parents fought valiantly for her life. Even though it may have cost him politically, President Bush spoke out for what is right as did many in Congress from both sides of the isle. From studying the Word of God in His New Covenant, we learn the importance that God puts on this gift of life that He has instilled in us. In us He has placed His Psuche.

The screams and cries of the loudest have prevailed. God is the giver of life. May God have mercy on us and on our children.

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