In the beautiful little city of C—, there was a home filled with sorrow. The mother had been called away by the Lord, leaving a grief-torn family and many sorrowing friends who loved her dearly.
Through the radio in this home, the Lord had spoken to their hearts, and in the hour of their distress they requested me to come and conduct the funeral service — the invitation coming through a relative who was a close friend of mine.
A cold rain was falling on the day of the funeral, and the road to the cemetery was not paved. Because of the deep mud on the road, I decided to leave my car in the town; and so I asked permission of the undertaker to ride with him in the hearse to the cemetery. This request he readily granted.
As we drove along slowly through the mire, I said to him — he was a young man of about thirty, “What do you suppose the Bible means by saying, ‘Let the dead bury their dead’?” (Matthew 8:22)
“There isn’t any Scripture like that in the Bible,” he very promptly replied.
“Yes, there is,” I assured him.
“Well,” he answered, “it must be a wrong translation, because it doesn’t make any sense. How could a dead person bury a dead person?”
“No, it is not a wrong translation,” I said. “These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself. He always spoke words of truth, and did not play with the feelings nor the imaginations of His hearers.”
The young undertaker flipped the cigarette he was smoking out of the window, and said, “Do you know anything about me, doctor? Has anyone told you about my life?”
“No,” I replied, “Why do you ask?”
“Because I have been burying many people lately, and it has caused me to think about my own case. Last night after supper, I got out the Bible and read until two o’clock this morning, trying to find out how to become a Christian.”
“Did you find out how to be one?” I inquired.
“No,” he said, “when I finished I was just as much in the dark as before; but tell me, what did Jesus mean by those words?”
The peculiar passage was so suited to this man’s mind, that it was an easy matter now to tell him about the Saviour. I said to him: “You are a dead undertaker in the front of this hearse, driving out to the cemetery to bury the dead friend in the back of the hearse. That friend is dead to her family, and you are dead to God. She does not respond to their caresses, their calls, their commands; neither do you respond to the call and the love of God.”
“You are right about that,” he said; “I cannot find God; I cannot talk to Him, for I do not know where He is, nor how to reach Him. Christ is right; I certainly need some kind of a change in my life to make me a real Christian.”
The auto was moving slowly, for the road was difficult, and we had plenty of time for conversation. Opening my Bible, I read to him John 10:10 — “I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Explaining the verse, I asserted that Christ Jesus had come to give the dead sinner — dead in his trespasses and sins — the gift of eternal life. This life is the life that is in the heart of the Lord Himself. It is a new nature imparted to the soul, so that the person naturally lives a godly life and loves the One who gave him the life.
“May I obtain that life?” he said, “and when may I have it?”
“Just now, right here in this hearse you may accept Jesus Christ”; and I assured him that by trusting this Saviour, believing in His precious blood shed for Him at Calvary, he, too, would receive everlasting life immediately. “Here is the Scripture; let me read it to you slowly, as you drive the car. ‘He that hath the son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life’ (1 John 5:12). This Saviour is on the throne waiting to give you this life the moment you believe in Him and trust the work that He did for you at Calvary when He died for your sins.”
“I’ll take Him,” he said; “I never did know what the Saviour did when He died, nor why He did it. It never entered my mind that it was for me. Of course it must have been for me, for I know there is no other Saviour and no one that even claims to be. He must have suffered for my sins and I believe it.”
We arrived at the cemetery with a LIVE undertaker, though we had started on the journey with a DEAD one. He who was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) was now alive in Christ, having trusted Him who gave His life for his salvation. We returned to the city after the burial, and along the slow journey home I had the privilege of telling him further of God’s imputed righteousness, the divine gift of pardon, and the blessed forgiveness in grace which is made possible by the shed blood of the Saviour.
Examine your own heart, my friend, and see whether you, too, are “dead” in pleasures and in sins. Christ will give you “LIFE” if you come to Him by faith and trust in Him for your soul’s salvation.