Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26
Mary Dickson and Martha Dixon had names that sounded very similar.
But there was far more in common with the lives of these ladies than a comparable last name. Dickson and Dixon were sisters; more specifically, they were twin sisters. By God's grace they had come into this world together some 90 years ago.
But their sharing goes even deeper.
Having grown up together Dickson and Dixon eventually were married ... to brothers. Yes, I know the last names are not the same, but that is only because one of the boys, wishing to re-enlist in the armed services, changed his name. Sometime, years ago, Dickson and Dixon were widowed.
The last years of their lives were spent living with a granddaughter. She reports Mary and Martha "fought like sisters but loved each other like sisters." So there you have it: two sisters with biblical names and intertwined lives -- and one more detail that needs to be mentioned.
On Christmas Day, Mary and Martha, at the age of 90, died within two hours of each other.
Now it would be nice if I could say these sisters who had done so much together in life, also entered heaven hand-in-hand, Now it may well be that these ladies are in heaven with their Redeemer. I hope they are, but I don't know. On the other hand, I do know that if they are in heaven it is because both Dickson and Dixon had an individual and a personal faith in the Savior.
You see, not even twin sisters, women who have shared their days, their friends, and many of life's experiences, are able to provide assistance for the other at the moment of death. Mary Dickson and Martha Dixon had to believe on their own, and they had to die on their own -- just as you and I must believe and die on our own.
Now you may wonder why this devotion brings up such an obvious point. The answer is found in many congregations. There we can see a sizable number of people whose parents are pillars of the congregation but who have no active relationship with the Savior themselves. There we can see folks who count on their ancestors, founding fathers of the church, to get them into heaven.
These people are relying on an unfounded hope. The truth is this: nobody -- nobody, that is, except for Jesus, will be able to stand by our sides during the final moments of life.
And that's all right.
It is all right because Jesus is the one Person, the exactly right Person that we need. Jesus came into this world to live for individuals, to die for individuals, and to rise for individuals. Through the Christ's great sacrifice, the Lord's love and saving grace has been extended to each and every sinner, and it needs to be received by each individual.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that while Jesus came to save the world, He has also come to save me. Grant that every soul may be brought to faith in the one and only Redeemer. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries