September 30, 2013
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
Ken Norton, at the age of 70, died last week.
That's a statement which probably doesn't mean much to our younger -- and older -- Daily Devotion readers. Even so, Ken Norton was an impressive fighter.
When I say "fighter," that doesn't mean Norton was a crusader for causes. He wasn't, at least not when he was a young man. Nor does it mean he was a person who had conquered all kinds of medical problems or impossible situations.
The truth is Ken Norton was a pugilist, a fellow who was paid big money for indulging in squared-ring fisticuffs. More than that, Norton was one of the best. Three times he met Muhammad Ali in a highly publicized fight. Once he came out of the ring victorious, and the other two times he left the ex-champ knowing he had been in a hard-fought battle.
In his youth Norton was an all-around athlete. He was a member of his state's championship football team and was elected to the all-state team as a senior. His track coach entered him in eight events at a meet and Norton took first in all of them. He started boxing when he was in the Marines and won the title of that branch of service three times. As a professional, he was a lean, mean, fighting machine.
And now, Ken Norton is dead.
Now the reason I bring that fact to your attention is this: death is not a respecter of persons. Death touches the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, and it can even bring down an ex-heavyweight prizefighter.
Logically, that means death is going to KO us as well.
This explains why we need a Savior. When the day comes when our strength gives out, when all the folks who sit ringside with us are helpless, when the final bell sounds, only Jesus is able to do anything of lasting value. So we wouldn't be counted down and out, so death could not stand over us victorious, Jesus entered this world and fought against sin, the devil, and death.
Those who were at His crucifixion thought death had managed to win the decision over God's Son. But three days later, when a living Lord Jesus emerged from His tomb, these gloom and doomers were proven wrong. Jesus is the Champion, our Champion, the Conqueror who has saved us.
Because Christ has fought and won, Paul could write and believers can say with confidence, "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I fight the fight and run the race, may I always remember that I shall be victorious because of what Jesus has done for me. May my gratitude be reflected in all I do. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries