Blog Posts on Death & Dying

Death: Shall We Weep or Rejoice?

John Piper
Death: Shall We Weep or Rejoice?

When a Christian dies, shall those of us who remain weep or rejoice? The biblical answer is both, even simultaneously.

I saw this in a new place as I was memorizing my way through Philippians again. I had never noticed before the emotional contrast between Philippians 2:17–18 and 2:27.

An Invitation to Rejoice

In Philippians 2:17–18, Paul is describing the possibility of his own death as “drink offering on the sacrificial offering” of their faith. He is willing to die in the... Continue Reading

Dying Well: One Woman’s Extraordinary Story

Tony Reinke
Dying Well: One Woman’s Extraordinary Story

Margaret Magdalen Jasper (1752–1789) doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. Google her name and you’ll find almost nothing about her life. What she looked like is a mystery. She wasn’t famous in her day, and she’s still not famous in our day. Her ordinary life was filled with disappointments, the kind of life history tends to forget.

But her story is worth telling.

Margaret lived in England, and there she was acquainted with loss. Her father died when she was only two... Continue Reading

Dads, Let’s Learn from the Dying Edwards

Jonathan Parnell
Dads, Let’s Learn from the Dying Edwards

Today in 1758 Jonathan Edwards died. He was 54 years old.

It was a fever he had contracted from a small-pox inoculation just a month before. After weeks of worsening weakness and the recognition of his immanent death, he spoke his last words to his daughter, Lucy, who attended him. Toward the end he said,

As to my children, you are now to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you.

There is so much to say... Continue Reading

Safe and Uncondemned for the Glory of God

Jonathan Parnell
Safe and Uncondemned for the Glory of God

It was almost nine years ago when Owen Shramek died. His parents, a young couple from Bethlehem Baptist Church, had moved to the Middle East to work as cross-cultural peacemakers. Owen was born at 24 weeks and the medical context reduced his chance of survival to 10 percent. He lived on this earth for only 20 minutes.

After Owen's parents flew back to the States for his burial, John Piper preached his funeral sermon and comforted his family with the truth of the... Continue Reading

Christopher Hitchens, the Mission of Desiring God, and God's Word About Death

John Piper
Christopher Hitchens, the Mission of Desiring God, and God's Word About Death

Three things came together in the last thirty-six hours to create this post. The death of Christopher Hitchens, the Desiring God Board meeting Thursday, and the word of God.

  1. Christopher Hitchens died Thursday night. He was, perhaps, the most aggressive of the “new atheists.” I am sobered and made quiet by the probability (though we do not know his final hours) that he is in torment today awaiting his final judgment and the lake of... Continue Reading

Steve Jobs: “He Knew the Couple of Things He Wanted to Do”

John Piper
Steve Jobs: “He Knew the Couple of Things He Wanted to Do”

Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson, went on sale yesterday. In an interview Isaacson commented on the effect Jobs’ cancer had on his life focus.

He talked a lot to me about what happened when he got sick and how it focused him. He said he no longer wanted to go out, no longer wanted to travel the world. He would focus on the products. He knew the couple of things he wanted to do, which was the iPhone and then the iPad.

Wisdom in the House of... Continue Reading

Victor Converses with Death

John Piper
Victor Converses with Death

It was one of the great privileges of my life to speak the word of God at the memorial service for 14-year-old Victor Manuel Watters on September 11, 2011. Sober, painful, and joyful — that’s how I would describe this unexpected way to mark 9/11.

Victor died of cancer — Ewing’s Sarcoma. At the age of nine he was in the hospital alone. His birth family was unable to care for him. Mike and Deb Watters were often on the same unit because of a similar cancer in their daughter. To... Continue Reading

9/11 — The Day Death Became Real

David Mathis
9/11 — The Day Death Became Real

C. S. Lewis's words from his classic essay “Learning in War-Time," written during World War II, captured some of the powerful effect 9/11 had on those of us living half a century later.

There is no question of death or life for any of us, only a question of this death or of that — of a machine gun bullet now or a cancer forty years later.

What does war do to death?It certainly does not make it more frequent; 100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.It... Continue Reading

Harmon Killebrew Dies at 74

Jonathan Parnell

Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew died yesterday at the age of 74. Killebrew, who played from 1954–1975, was elected an All-Star 11 times and named the American League MVP for the 1969 season.

In this video, John Piper speaks about the humbling reality of death in light of Killebrew’s battle with esophageal cancer —

Watch, listen, or download the entire sermon, "You Will Never See Death."