At Easter we celebrate the death of death. The apostle Paul describes it this way in I Corinthians 15:54-57:
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ultimately death comes to us all. That reality alone shapes much of human life and its living.
The fear of death is one of the greatest destroyers of life. People struggle to find meaning and purpose in life, pursuing treasures that deteriorate, reputations that are forgotten, and control that forever eludes them. The fear of death makes cowards of us all, often refusing to take the risks that are needed to have life to its fullest. It makes us hold onto life as we desire it at the cost of our health, our relationships, and moral integrity. The fear of death is the tool tyrants use to oppress nations and demagogues use to manipulate masses.
And part of that fear is rooted deeply in the question, “what awaits us beyond the grave?” Some of humanity simply hopes for annihilation. Nothing is better than what might be. Others hope to find heaven on earth only to discover that hell holds the mortgage, Still others eschew any kind of afterlife believing that giving this earth another try might finally get them what their heart desires–until once again they die.
Jesus Christ came into the world to once reestablish the truth that a world apart from God is destined to self-destruction. Death will have the last word unless death is defeated. Jesus Christ came into the world to demonstrate a power greater than death by creating for humankind life as God intended–abundant and eternal and freed from sin’s power and death’s sting.
Death tried to defeat Christ. It sought to wipe him out through the manipulations of men who feared the life God intended. But as Clarence Hall has written: “Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
For on the third day, the stone was rolled away and God raised Christ up and death received its own death knell. The crack of dawn on Easter morning was the resounding trumpet that declared God’s victory over death and ours with Him.
(C) 2013 by Steve Dunn