One of my top-ten favorite movies is What About Bob? In one scene, Bob and Sigmund (or Siggy) are in Siggy’s room having a sleep-over. Bob, who is something of a child himself, is a middle-aged neurotic guy who is afraid of everything. Siggy is a pretty disturbed pre-teen who wears all black and is obsessed with death.
In the dark, trying to fall asleep, Siggy calls across the room to Bob. “Did you ever think about it? You’re going to die. You. Are. Going. To. Die. We’re all going to die.” And then Siggy says (because Bob is much older than him), “And you are going to die much sooner than me, of course.”
Because Bob is deathly afraid of everything, you expect this to have a crumbling effect on him but actually, it does the opposite. He decides, in a moment of clarity, that if death is the worst end of it, then maybe everything else isn’t so bad.
Siggy’s right, of course; we are all going to die. All. Of. Us. But that very fact challenges us to consider the question: “What are you going to do about it?”
This is very much the flavor of Jesus’ words to his followers as John, chapter 14, opens. He has been talking about death a lot lately. Like Siggy, he seems preoccupied with suffering, so following has become a much more serious business. Now the disciples are wondering, “If death is our Master’s destiny, what’s next for us?”
At first, his answers bring no peace, only challenge. Then Jesus shows them what the Kingdom looks like. He shows them the Father’s house and gives them a vision for something bigger than themselves. He wants to invite them into the conversation. Yes, you’re going to die, he seems to say. But what are you going to do about it?
And what Jesus said to his followers in the first century is still true today: Yes, you are going to die.
So … what are you going to do about it?