“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Taking a look at my calendar this past week:
Saturday – preach at the funeral of Anna G.
Monday – visit Helene K. in hospice care (very near death).
Monday – lead opening devotion at the visitation in the funeral home for Helen H.
Tuesday – preside at the funeral of Helen H.
Wednesday – visit Helene K. again, perhaps for the last time.
Wednesday – lead opening devotion at the visitation of Alan P. at the church.
Thursday – preside at the funeral of Alan P.
Let me just say, as candidly as I can (and forgive me for being so blunt): Death sucks!
It does. It touches people I know. People I love.
Good people have died. And it sucks!
All people face death during their lives and will most likely face their own demise eventually.
But something that happens to everyone doesn’t make it any easier to handle and face.
Why does death suck? Because it was never supposed to be this way.
We were not made to die. It’s a simple as that. God created us to live forever – just like him.
But Adam and Eve made a deadly choice in the Garden of Eden and brought death to us all.
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
Death hurts. It is tragic and sad. In the words of St. Paul, it stings. It literally saps the energy out of life.
It was not supposed to be this way. But it is. And it sucks.
God Is God and God is Good
The good news is that it is not the final answer. God was here before it. And God is here now. God will be here after death.
God is, then, the final answer!
He is the one who created all things – the universe and everything in it. As it says in the Nicene Creed, he is the Creator of “all things visible and invisible.”
So, God is God. But more importantly, God is good!
When each day of creation was completed, God is recorded as seeing all that he created on that day as “good.” And on the final day, when he concluded his work by creating Adam and Eve, God saw everything he had created as “very good.”
God is good. He is the ultimate good with no evil or malice in him.
So good, in fact, that he gave Adam and Eve the free choice to love him or not.
Satan had already made his choice about God and tempted Adam and Eve to follow him in rejecting God.
Sadly, that is exactly what Adam and Eve did. And in rejecting God, they brought death into God’s good creation.
Jesus Is Fixing It
But God loved all of us so much, that he wouldn’t let it be the final say in the matter.
He sent Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, to be born of a woman and take on all the sins of all people of all time.
Dying on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sin. That won God’s forgiveness for us.
Jesus destroyed the power of death. His three-day rest in the tomb made all our graves just as temporary as his!
Jesus accomplished the overturning of death. We now live in the process of his final fixing of it.
The sting of death is no more. Jesus won the victory over it and gives us life!
A short video by Matt Popovits was the inspiration of this devotion. You can see that here.
Heavenly Father, you bring us through suffering and death with our Lord Jesus Christ to enter with him into glory. Grant us grace at all times to acknowledge and accept your holy and gracious will, to remain in the true faith, and to find peace and joy in the resurrection of the dead and the glory of everlasting life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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