“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55
The reach of Christ’s cross and empty tomb is very great indeed. It spans the whole creation and covers all human history. And because of the resurrection of Christ, death is a “has been.”
Today is my mother’s birthday. She died more than ten years ago. Like that of my younger brother, my wife’s younger sister, our grandparents, and many other loved ones in our lives, her life and her death are still very real in memory. So are the feelings of loss. The earliest Christians, who lived with eagerness and joy in the power of Christ’s cross and his rising from death, were probably brought up short by the deaths of believers—friends and family members who passed away before Jesus’ return.
Death is hard to deal with, especially after Easter. I see a good friend from time to time whose wife, Ellen, died several years ago. John speaks frankly about everything, and when I asked him how life was going without Ellen, he said, “John, death stinks!” His words brought tears to my eyes then, and they still do today.
Our hope and confidence is that death cannot write the final chapter for all who have died (or will die) in Christ. As surely as Christ arose, they will rise to life again with new, non-perishing bodies. “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus”!
Father in heaven, thank you that Jesus’ death happened once for all, but that resurrection will be repeated. Our hope is in you, Lord Jesus, and in your resurrection. Amen.
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