Our culture seems to have a prolonged interest in zombie stories. Television shows like The Walking Dead and movies about zombies and "the undead" seem to capture people's imagination and attention. One wonders if at times people are actually privately confessing their own dread of death and trying to deal with the reality, even in a fantasyland way, with the coming reality of their own death.
We know in the depths of our being that we are not right. We have fallen short of the standard of holiness and perfection that we ourselves would hold ourselves to, let alone the standard that a Holy God might (and truthfully does) expect. The death sentence, "The wages of sin is death," looms over us all, and the paymaster's coming knock on our own door gives all pause.
But in today's promise -- a promise good for every day -- Jesus makes clear the paymaster has been beaten. I simply love the grammar of the Greek perfect verb tense, and this passage has a big one. Remember, the Greek perfect verb indicates a completed action with on-going consequences. In this passage, the perfect verb is translated "has passed." So Jesus is saying that listening to him and believing that the Father has sent him (Jesus) gifts us personally, completely with eternal life. The gift is so good that we will not have to endure judgment. We have passed directly from death (the so-called life we think we have now) to life -- eternal life, where death no longer has a hold on us.
Many early Christians would count their baptismal day as their date of birth, recognizing that the gift of faith that arrives through the power of the Holy Spirit is actually the date of birth of one's eternal life. Our earthly life will come to an end in the earthly death (Luther calls this the small death), but our eternal life goes on forever. We do not face the big death -- the judgment for our sins and being cast into the lake of fire as the just reward for our sins.
Jesus has said so. The promise of this verse then is directly related to that other Greek perfect verb spoken by Jesus on the cross -- "It is finished." The Lord has gone and done it. He has vanquished death, defeated Satan, and gained eternal life for those he has chosen. The action is completed, done, finished, and the consequences are eternal for you and for me.
Always remember Whose you are,