And when Jesus was passed over again by ship to the other side, much people gathered to him: and he was near to the sea.…
The reason why the death of the godly is called a sleep in Scripture is this: because there is a fit resemblance between it and natural sleep; which resemblance consists chiefly in these things.
1. In bodily sleep men rest from the labours of mind and body. So the faithful, dying in the Lord, are said to rest from their labours (Revelation 14:13).
2. After natural sleep men are accustomed to awake again; so, after death, the bodies of the saints shall be awaked, i.e., raised up again to life out of their graves at the last flay. And as it is easy to awake one out of a natural sleep, so is it much more easy with God, by His almighty power, to raise the dead at the last day.
3. As after natural sleep the body and outward senses are more fresh and lively than before; so likewise after that the bodies of the saints, being dead, have for a time slept in their graves as in beds, they shall awake and rise again at the last day in a far more excellent state than they died in, being changed from corruption to in. corruption, from dishonour to glory, from weakness to power, from natural to spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42).
4. As in natural sleep the body only is said properly to sleep, not the soul (the powers whereof work even in sleep in some sort, though not so perfectly as when we are waking): so in death, only the bodies of the saints do die and lie down in the graves, but their souls return to God who gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7), and they live with God even in death and alter death.
5. As sleep is sweet to those who are wearied with labour and travail (Ecclesiastes 5:12), so also death is sweet and comfortable to the faithful, being wearied and turmoiled with sin, and with the manifold miseries of this life.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.