Many years ago, there was a merchant in London named Henry Goodyear who was a religious sceptic. He was very much inclined to scoff at the Bible and its teachings. Goodyear had a niece who was a follower of Jesus Christ, and she was constantly trying to get her uncle to seriously consider the claims of the Bible.
One day his niece finally persuaded Goodyear to go to church with her—“just to please her”. She was so discouraged to find that the main Scripture for that day was from the fifth chapter of Genesis—a list of genealogy. As these verses were read, she thought to herself, “Why, on this of all days, did God permit such an uninteresting passage of Scripture to be read?”
Mr. Goodyear made no comment as they walked home from the church service. The only difference that his niece noticed was that he was a little quieter than usual, as if he had something on his mind.
There was indeed something on Mr. Goodyear’s mind. With every footstep, indeed with every beat of his heart, he heard the words of the Scripture over and over again—“and then he died.” In his bedroom later that night, he still heard the words echo in his mind—“and then he died.”
The next morning, busy at his ledger as usual, Mr. Goodyear’s pen seemed to have a mind of its own, wanting to write the words, “and then he died.” Finally, he could stand it no longer, and he reached for his dusty Bible and read the words from the fifth chapter of Genesis. It listed the names of men and how long they lived. And there was that phrase—that phrase that would allow him no peace of mind—over and over again, “and then he died.”
This seemingly boring passage of Scripture entirely changed Mr. Goodyear’s life. He was alive, but someday he would have to die. Then what?
The sobering truth for every human being is that we will someday die. The only hope we have is to believe that death can somehow be defeated.
Those of us who follow Jesus know that he has defeated death. After he willingly laid down his life on the cross to pay for the sins of all mankind, God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus thus conquered death, not only for himself, but for everyone who would trust him for their salvation.
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”—Hebrews 9:27-28.