Christ, Our Champion Over Death
It’s an old enemy. Old and familiar to our tired world.
We see the rhythm around us – an endless cycle of giving birth and of dying. And for the most part, we’re submissive. After all, it’s only natural. Inevitable.
But when we stand face to face with death, we wrestle. It’s then that we feel the wrench, the tension, and we remember that death is a foreign marauder. The first pristine creation had no inkling of it. This is not the way things were intended to be. Our bodies weren’t meant to decay and hurt and die. We were created to live vibrant and fully and forever.
Sin came between us and the ideal. A curse fell on mankind, while the curtain fell on the perfect world that Adam’s rebellion had shattered.
A new era had started. The era of death.
From the fall to the cross, death had a choke-hold on this world that couldn’t be loosed. But no more. Death is a wounded enemy now, and the day will come when it is destroyed. We will embrace immortality, inhale the fullness of eternity.
Christ went through many types of suffering to purchase this eternal life for us. He was born into a sinful world – He suffered pain, hunger and thirst throughout his life. He knew rejection and temptation. Finally, at the young age of 33, He was betrayed, tortured and killed. He bore the intense agony of being abandoned by his Father and left alone with the weight of sin on His shoulders.
In this post, I’d like to zero in on one aspect of that suffering. One that I think we sometimes miss.
This body, the body of the God-man, submitted to death. His spirit left it, leaving behind a corpse – a crushed, empty, bleeding shell. It was buried, and lay for three days in the dank blackness of a grave. Seemingly defeated. Seemingly helpless.
Christ humbled Himself to that point. He embraced our curse so fully that he allowed His own body to be conquered by death in order that He might conquer death for all of us.
He didn’t just take a human form. He didn’t just stoop low to wash feet and touch the unlovely.
He actually died.
And not only that, He was killed. There is something wrenchingly ugly about a human being ending another human being’s life. It’s so heinous, so sickeningly wrong and twisted. But Christ allowed His own creation to take Him in violent hands and nail Him to a cross to die. He knew that, as He said in John 10:18, no one was ripping His life away from Him. He was laying it down, deliberately. He was choosing to die, for sinners, by the hands of sinners.
What condescension! What utter grace!
God is life. He is the author of life. Death has no part in Him just as sin has no part in Him. But when Christ drank the wrath of God, down to the dregs, it means that He drank death, too. All so that we could be redeemed.
Of course, the story doesn’t stop there. On the third day, our Champion rose with power. He fought death hand-to-hand, and defeated it. He became the Firstborn from the dead to offer resurrection to all who believe in Him.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, thank Christ that He submitted to death for your sake. Because of His grace, we are given victory – even over death. It is no longer something to be feared. It’s just a defeated enemy – an old, tired enemy that knows its time is short.
Death has been swallowed up in victory