I hate death. We all taste it every day. We’re reminded of death in every newscast. We too often witness the death of a marriage. We’ve been to one too many funerals. On even smaller scales, we see death when we flush a goldfish, discard a dried out Christmas tree, or visit a “Going Out Of Business” sale. Even when a good deal is had… I still hate death.
We can’t escape death, though we try. It reminds me of the old fable of the man who made a deal with Death. He told the Grim Reaper that he would willingly surrender when it came time to die, but on one condition, that Death would warn him with a messenger well in advance. Years and years went by. One cold winter evening, the Reaper arrived and tapped the man on the shoulder. The startled man yelled, “You’re here so soon, and without warning! I thought we had an agreement!” Death replied, “I’ve kept my part, and actually sent you many messengers. Your hair was once full and black but is now thin and white. Look at the way you tilt your head because your hearing is failing you. And you must stand close to the mirror to see clearly with your poor eyesight. Yes, I’ve sent many messengers. I’m sorry you’re not ready, but the time has come to leave.”
The reason why I hate death so much is because I can’t shake it. It creeps into my soul and turns once fertile ground into hard clay. I see the bitterness, tiredness, callousness, and anger that well up in me, and it feels like death had declared a victory over a piece of my heart.
But this is what Easter Sunday is all about, right? God emphatically declares, “I am in the resurrection business.” God can resurrect a broken relationship. God can resurrect a failing business. God can resurrect my selfish, hardened heart. The Resurrection is something that can be experienced every day.
We celebrate that Jesus has conquered Death – but I have too often only focused on the “last breath” kind of death we now have victory over. Death and all its forms has been swallowed by a Man who walked out of His own grave. Although death is a reality in this world, the power of the Resurrection is for today. As Andrew Peterson penned, “All of the Death that ever was, when you set it next to Life, I believe it will barely fill a cup, because I believe there is power in the Blood.”
“Death has been swallowed up. It has lost the battle.” – 1 Cor. 15:54 NIRV