Easter, 2017


Alleluia, Christ is Risen.  He is risen indeed.

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15)

Who do you feel confident mocking?

Most of us sinfully mock others behind their backs confident that they won’t hear us.

Most of us are guilty of mocking even the powerful – the politicians, the owners and managers, the bullies of the world, confident that it won’t get back to them and they’ll do something about it.

But mocking death is a very bold thing to do – and that is exactly what Paul is doing “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”

Death is powerful and death is present to hear this mocking and death is constantly bullying us.

The sting of death is sin. 

The constancy of death around us is found in that word sting.  That word sting is like that sharp pointy stick that ranchers use to prod cattle, some have electric charges to it.  The cow is going this way and the rancher says pokes and says, “no, you need to go that way.”

That’s the picture – we’re the cattle and death is constantly poking at us remind us that it’s there and we’re not in control.

There’s the small pokes – why does the milk spoil?  Because of death.

Why will these beautiful lilies will eventually wither?  Because of death.

Why does the house and car need maintenance again and again and again?  Because death and decay is on everything we touch.

But those are just the annoying pokes.  Death also gives us knockout blows.

Punch – you’re getting sick.

Pow – someone you love can  no longer care for themselves and  that will most likely happen to you someday, too.

Boom – someone you love has died (what a cruel bully).

Knockout – you’re dying, too.  No matter your age.  No matter you  health.  No matter your denial.  And what exactly are you going to do about it?

Death is always there poking and prodding and punching and knocking out our confidence and shaking our foundation.

How could Paul have confidence to mock such a powerful and present bully?

Death is big and powerful and seems to have all the control.

How could Paul mock such a monster that everyone seems to have has lost to?

How could Paul feel confident when he knew the reality that all of us too often look for confidence by sinfully gripping onto things that are dying right along with us?

How could Paul mock death when the sting of death is sin and power of sin the law – knowing the Law condemns sinners to death and we’re sinners?

Because Jesus did not lose and Jesus has Paul and Jesus has you.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen.  He is Risen indeed.

Paul and every Christian can mock the bully of death all the time, when it starts poking, prodding and punching and when the devil starts accusing and condemning, not because we’re stronger than the bully, but because our big brother, the living Lord Jesus Christ, is stronger and is standing right in front of us having taken on death and sin’s and the devil’s hardest blows and come out victorious against them for us.

“Nah, nah, na-boo-boo” – we can amazingly say to death and the devil and our sin as we stand behind our big brother and say, Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

Easter proves you don’t have to be strong.  Jesus is strong for you.

Easter proves you don’t have to be brave.  Jesus has already won the fight.

Easter proves you don’t have to be good enough for Him.  Jesus has already declared you righteous.

Easter proves you don’t face death with uncertainty – Jesus lives to bring you the certainty of paradise.

Easter proves that we can mock the thing that we are most afraid of, not because we have confidence in ourselves – but that we have confidence in the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

He comes out of the grave just as He promised.  He brings peace.  He is risen and He comes seeking you again today.

You who are poked and prodded and punched in the gut to death by death, Jesus seeks you and finds you with His certainty – death is swallowed up in victory.

He finds you with His living body and blood – O death, where is your victory against Him who lives to give me this mysteriously wonderful food and drink?

He finds you with His forgiveness – O death, where is your sting?

So, hide behind your big brother and mock the devil who accuses and the death that stings you.  You’re big brother is up for the fight!  In fact, He’s already won.

And thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


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