When we trust in Jesus—when we believe that he is the resurrection and the life and when we repent of our sins and put our faith in him as our Savior and Lord—we are reconnected to the source of life. We are reunited to God, our Creator. So, even if this body of mine will die, it will not stay dead forever. When we die, our spirits go immediately to be with Jesus, and our bodies await the day of resurrection, when Christ returns to harvest the seeds we plant in the ground.
Two years ago, our family found ourselves in the middle of an intense trial. My mother-in-law, just 64, was diagnosed with cancer already in advanced stages, leading to a summer in which my wife, Corina, spent (in total) three months in Romania as her primary caregiver during those last days. I wrote about the shock of the diagnosis as well as the truths that sustained us during that season. At Thanksgiving of that year, I said it felt like we were struggling up the sides of a crater left in the wake of an asteroid of suffering.
Since that time, I have found solace in God’s promise of resurrection and the New Testament’s description of the final victory of God over sin and death. Oh, there are still tears. There is still heartache and pain. Trusting in the promises of God does not turn us into unfeeling people who demonstrate faithfulness by keeping a stiff upper lip.
But even in the tears, the promise of resurrection remains solid—a foundation for our lives that will not be shaken, something that can help our hearts remain steady and firm no matter how much we grieve. We can take comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, no matter how much death haunts our life, the day is coming when we will sneer at death as a pitiful, shriveled up, old defeated enemy when seen in the everlasting light of resurrection life.
Sneering at Death
Paul quoted from both Isaiah and Hosea when he taunted death in 1 Corinthians 15.
54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, 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!
Paul doesn’t just revel in the victory of Jesus, he also he sneers at the defeat of his enemy. There’s no being a “good sport” here with Paul. Trash talk is appropriate, because death is not a worthy opponent but the “last enemy” to be defeated before God remakes the world.
Paul’s sneering at death means that no matter what comes your way, you can walk in faith that God will have the final victory. God is bigger. God is stronger. He raises the dead. The decisive battle against this enemy was waged and won at Easter. The Lamb of God who surrendered to death’s clutches is the Lion of Judah who has stolen Death’s sting. Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection. He’s first, not last. That means our resurrection will follow.