Resurrection: Death has been defeated

Easter.

It’s a story of Light shattering the Darkness. A story of the God who so loved the world that He would offer the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. It’s a story about Jesus, who held such a resolve in his heart to rescue the world that was bound up in sin, shame, lies and darkness, that He would pour his life out for us completely.  It’s a story of Death being defeated. It’s now a story of a people shaped by resurrection, a story that binds us up in hope. It’s our story.

Its also a story that our hearts should never tire of. As is often life, Easter weekend is upon us and we can just blow by it without truly pausing and considering the magnitude of what has happened on our behalf. We need to remember all that was given and all that was won by our God. The Lord has rescued our souls but He also defeated Death once and for all. Let the Message version of 1 Corinthians 15 remind you of the power of Resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:21-28   There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man.  Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.  But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming,  the grand consummation when, after crushing the opposition, he hands over his kingdom to God the Father.  He won’t let up until the last enemy is down—  and the very last enemy is death! As the psalmist said, “He laid them low, one and all; he walked all over them.” When Scripture says that “he walked all over them,” it’s obvious that he couldn’t at the same time be walked on.  When everything and everyone is finally under God’s rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!

We need to remember that in the resurrection of Jesus, God defeated Death once and for all.  “According to Paul, death has entered the world as a personified power, has penetrated to all humanity like an epidemic, and has incited all to sin. Thus from the fall of Adam and as a result of the fall death has established a domain of sovereignty, in which in its turn sin came to power among humankind, who deserved the judgment of death through their conduct and had to die.” (EDNT)

Death was never part of the original design in Gen 1, yet through sin, death has inflicted humanity since the time of Adam. Understanding death as a “personified power” transforms our understanding of it from being a common human experience to an infliction that must be cleansed if any hope is to be realized. NT Wright explains, “as the present age is inflicted by death, who is an intruder, a violator of the creator’s good world. The creator’s answer to death cannot be to reach some kind of agreement or compromise. Death, must be, and in the Messiah has been and will be, defeated.”

So this is way more than a story of some dude who seemed kind and was faithful, and if we think about it he might be a good role model for us. NO! This is the story of the Son of God who obliterated His enemies and as a result rescued his people. This story sparked a revolution of love and its a story that we draw strength from when our world gets turned upside down. In the resurrection we remember that God rescued us and will rescue us again.

This story never grows old or gets stale. It should paint a picture in your hearts of Jesus that is so compelling that it draws you daily to follow him. But our hearts can grow cold, can grow stale and so we need to remember this story and remember how BIG it is.

Death has been defeated | He has truly rescued us.

So my prayer for you is the same one Paul had for the church of Ephesus 1:19-23   I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power  that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.  Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Tom Rich
Discipleship Pastor

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