- ABOUT US
- NEWS & EVENTS
- READING PLAN
The Day Death Died
In quoting the prophecy of the prophet Hosea in Chapter 13, verse 14, the Apostle Paul makes this declaration.
“‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NKJV)
You see, Easter, or the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is all about the day that death died, because when Jesus rose from the dead He overcame the power of death, and for the believer in Jesus Christ, He delivered them from death’s grip.
The reality of life is that we all die, and so when thinking about death, we must remember that while death never leaves empty handed, it has lost its match to Jesus Christ who, through His death and resurrection, now has the power over sin and death.
Paul said to the church in Rome, “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9 NIV) This is why Paul could say that it was a clear and unmistakable fact that “Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” (1 Corinthians 15:20 NLT)
Therefore, those who are in Christ, that is, those who have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord, no longer need to fear death, because they are a part of that great harvest. And therefore, like King David, can say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)
The unfortunate reality is that so many have seen so much death, especially now in the age of social media, they have become callused to it’s reality. They fear it; they’re scared to death by it, but unfortunately not enough to change their lives.
And so Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is about how death died, that is, Jesus Christ took the sting right out of death, where for those who believe, death has no more power.
It reminds me of a story about a father and his two young sons walking through a field. A bee stung the oldest son, and while he quickly brushed him off, he went down kicking and screaming in pain as the bee stung him on the face. The bee then went after the youngest son who also threw himself on the ground kicking and screaming.
The father picked up the youngest son and told him he didn’t have to cry or be afraid of the bee, because the bee was harmless. It had lost its stinger. Going over to the eldest boy he took the small black stringer from the bite, and said to the youngest child, “The bee can’t hurt you, it’s lost its sting.”
Just like the bee, death has lost its sting, because Jesus took our place and died our death. Therefore we no longer need to fear or be afraid of death. Yes, death may still buzz around trying to scare us, but death can no longer harm us.
While death is a known fact of life, death is also a defeated foe. And so, if death died, what’s the outcome those who believe in Jesus Christ? Eternal life.
We could say it like this, that today we’re living in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living.
Vance Havner, a preacher and Bible scholar from the 1900’s said, “The hope of dying is the only thing that keeps me alive.” Why is that, it is because death can no longer hold us or keep us down. Death in this life is merely a doorway to heaven and eternal life in the presence of our Lord to all those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer when he was 33 years old. He had just won the PGA Championship and had 10 tournament victories to his name. In his book, “Zinger,” he wrote about his battle, he said,
“A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I’m going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It’s just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live.”
But he continue to say, “I’ve made a lot of money since I’ve been on the tour, and I’ve won a lot of tournaments, but that happiness is always temporary. The only way you will ever have true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don’t have problems, but I feel like I’ve found the answer to the six-foot hole.”
“I know I’ll spend eternity with God and I have a promise – that as a child of God he’ll help me deal with anything. He promises to offer me contentment regardless of what life brings – even cancer.”
Death lost its sting, because Jesus pinned death to the mat, and death took the three count, because on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead.
The prophet Isaiah talked about the Messiah to come and how he was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” But he also said that he bore our grief and carried our sorrows through what He would suffer on account of us (Isaiah 53:3-4).
The writer of Hebrews says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NKJV)
Because of His great love for us, Jesus took on human flesh with the intent of destroying not only death, but also the one who uses death to harass us, and that is the Devil. Jesus’s intent was to free us from fear and bondage to death. And that’s what He did.
Death and its author, Satan, were allowed by divine providence to kill Jesus, the Lord of Life, there on the cross. The Scriptures says: “and Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last” (Mark 15:37).
And as far as death was concerned it was over. For the Messiah Jesus, the One who had come to free humanity from death was now death’s prisoner. For three days death rejoiced in its great victory. But at the end of those three days the celebration ended,because something happened that would break the power of death forever.
Jesus stepped out of that tomb alive!
To the women who came looking for the body of Jesus in the tomb, in order to anoint Him with spices were met by two angels, who said,
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6 NKJV)
But the story doesn’t end there,because even though Jesus defeated death for all time, death still, excuse the pun, lives on. And yet the day is approaching fast when death will die forever. In Revelation 20 we are told that Satan, death, and hell will be cast into the lake of fire.
What does all this mean for all those who believe in Christ and who still live in this land of death? For all those who come to belief in Jesus Christ, who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, death is, if I can say it like this, an angel of peace, because once we leave this mortal body we’ll be in heaven, the land of no mores, a place where there is no more suffering, sorrow, pain, tears, hurts, hunger, thirst, night, darkness, excessive heat, and the greatest ‘no more’ of them all, and that is, the curse of sin.
So death for the one who belongs to Christ becomes a friend not an enemy. Death is nothing to be feared any longer for it is under the power of The King of Kings and the Lord of Lord, and it’s the same power that those who believe in Jesus Christ are under which is why the Psalmist could say:
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15 NKJV)
The key is belief in Christ.
This is seen in what Jesus told Martha when she said that if Jesus had come earlier, then her brother, Lazarus, would not have died. But Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Death has lost its power and its sting as Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, offers His freedom, freedom from death and freedom from the fear of death, the same freedom that He gives to all who put their trust in Him.
It is this reason that Psalm 23:4 is so often quoted at a believer’s funeral.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)
And so to Martha and then to us, Jesus asks, “Do you believe,” and Martha’s response should be ours, that is, if we want death to die for us so that we can live forever in heaven in the presence of God.
She said,“Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27 NKJV)
Winston Churchill arranged his funeral to emphasize this very belief. After the benediction, a bugler played Taps, the universal signal that the day is over. But then, another bugler played Reveille, the universal signal that a new day has dawned.
And so, while it’s Good Night here on Earth when we die, it’s Good Morning in Heaven as we stand in the very presence of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
For those who believe in Jesus Christ, when we die, it’s Good Night here on Earth, but it is also Good Morning in Heaven, and that’s because Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the day that death died.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study