In Greek mythology we are told that Hercules placed two pillars or mountains on either side of the Strait of Gibraltar to mark the edge of the then known world. These pillars bore the warning “Ne plus ultra” or “No More Beyond”. They cautioned sailors to go no further. The idea that there was no more to discover became so prevalent in the 1400’s that “Ne Plus Ultra” was written on the edges of their maps. It even became the national motto of Spain. But one man choose to go beyond the edge and changed the world forever. In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail into the unknown waters and discovered new lands and new opportunities. Spain changed their motto and minted coins with the phrase “Plus Ultra” which means more beyond.
Another man, the God Man, Jesus Christ went into those dark waters of death. He suffered the agony of the cross and died as payment for our sins. Yet three days after His death He rose again. His resurrection proved that there is more beyond the grave. The scriptures are filled with the blessed truth of more beyond. Jesus said I am going to prepare a place for you that where I am you will be also (John 14:3). Paul assures us that absent from the body means to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). As Paul was facing his own death he described it as departing to be with Christ which is far better (Phil. 1:23).
I have the opportunity to conduct many funerals in my role as a minister of the gospel. I look into the grieving eyes of a spouse and see the pain of their searing loss. However, I am so glad I have the firm assurance from scripture that the grave is not the end. I can boldly tell those grieving families that there is more beyond. There is a place beyond this place, there is a life beyond this life, and there is joy everlasting for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Sadly many people think that this world is all there is. God’s Word shouts to us those words of hope: more beyond.