June 29, 2014
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
Ours is a world which is both frightened -- and fascinated -- by death.
When people come upon an accident, in horror they put their hands over their eyes, and then they open their fingers so they can get a glimpse of the wreckage. Death is all around us, but many prefer never to speak its name. That's why, rather than saying a person has died, some prefer to say, he "bit the bullet," "bought the farm," "cashed in his chips," "crossed the river," "flat-lined," "went to the happy hunting ground," "kicked the bucket," "is pushing up daisies," "has rung down the curtain," or been "de-animated."
In truth, it's difficult to write about the "whys?" and "how comes?" of death for millions of people.
It is difficult because a fair percentage of folks have problems with death, in general. Some think if they ignore death, it will go away. There are others who think there is no point in talking about the questions of death because no answers are possible, and all discussion is just suspicion and speculation. Of course, there are those who don't like to speak of death because it is too close. Perhaps a loved one is ill, or someone in your family or friendship has recently died. For you, the subject is a painful one.
The truth is I wouldn't broach the subject at all if it weren't for the fact that the Bible speaks of death.
The Bible tells how, because of humankind's deliberate disregard of the Creator's single commandment, sin was born into this world, bringing death and a pantheon of other evils along with it. Scripture speaks of how no person, at least on his own, can defeat death. Medicine may advance and find cures for cancer and the common cold, but each of us will die. There is no fountain of youth that remains undiscovered; there is no plastic surgery that can guarantee perpetuality; there is no cloning procedure that will make you indestructible, invincible, invulnerable.
All of us are going to die.
This is why you need to know two things.
First, you need to know the Lord doesn't delight in death. On the contrary, God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (see James 1:17), including the gifts of forgiveness, salvation, resurrection, and best of all, His Son, our Savior.
This takes us to the second thing you need to know: God hates death as much, even more, than you do.
If circumstances have caused you to doubt the truth of that statement, even in the least little bit, then I encourage you to look at the price God was willing to pay so death, your death, might be destroyed. Look into the manger of Bethlehem and see God's Son, Jesus. See your Savior who left heaven's glory to enter a world of sorrow and sadness, where He would be a sacred Sacrifice to pay sin's debt. See Him live His entire life as that Sacrifice. See Him as He sacrificed His will, His happiness, and the world's joys.
Yes, see how Jesus turned down the joys of this world so He might die on the cross for us. There He endured our punishment; there He carried our sins. There, for us, He fulfilled all that had been asked of Him. Then, with His glorious third-day resurrection from the dead, He let the world know ... He let us know that death had been defeated and the grave had been conquered.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for Your love that has granted me victory over the grave, I give thanks. May my attitude be shown in my words and life so others may see that in Jesus death has lost its sting. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries