THE DEFEAT OF DEATH
On Sunday Christians around the world will celebrate Easter. But what is being celebrated? Easter is not about the arrival of spring. It is not about bunnies and an egg hunt. It’s not even about the immortality of the soul.
Easter is about the defeat of death.
But first we have to face the reality of death. Jesus was mercilessly crucified. He went through terrible agony. There is nothing beautiful about it. He died a horrible death.
The Bible does not present death as the way for us to transition from this world to the next. It does not present death as a second birth. Death is an enemy. To avoid the reality of death is to misunderstand the meaning of Easter.
Jesus faced death and he defeated it. Death could not hold him. The tomb was not the eternal resting place for the son of God. Jesus died for the sins of humanity. And he rose up from the grave, proving his victory over death and sin.
When he committed himself into the hands of the Father and breathed his last breath it was not the death of a man – it was the defeat of death.
Easter declares that death is real, that Jesus faced it and he overcame it. This is why Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die.” (John 11:25)
Last year was a very difficult time for our church. We have been blessed with relatively few deaths through the years. The youthfulness of our congregation and much good health has allowed us to avoid the painful experience of losing people.
But that all changed. In the span of four months we lost three of our beloved members. Two of them to that vile enemy cancer and one to a heart attack. When life goes your way it’s easy to believe in the message of Easter. When death visits you three times in succession it gets real. Your faith gets tested.
Easter proclaims Jesus is alive. He is resurrected, redeemed humanity. And by God’s grace we can be like him. We must simply have faith in Jesus and his resurrection victory. And I am thrilled to say that Kevin, Linda and Ernest had such faith so they are alive today with Jesus. Death has been defeated.
This is why Paul could write, “Death has lost the battle! Where is its victory? Where is its sting? (I Corinthians 15:54-55)
Of course, we are still left with the loss. We know they are alive still we miss their presence. But it is only temporary. Some day we will see them again. We will be reunited. All because of Jesus and his Easter victory.
About Rick McDaniel
Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of six books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.
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