Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
A joyous Easter to each of you. This is the day when we celebrate Jesus’ victory over the powers and their grip on the world, for in raising Jesus from the dead, the Father achieved victory over the ultimate weapon of evil – death and our fear of death.
I was thinking this morning in church. . .we often look at the Genesis story of the fall as being the point where death entered the world, and to some extent we are supported in that view by Paul’s comments in Romans 5. However, if we look at the biology of life, can we really say nobody would have died without the fall? I wonder if perhaps Tolkein had it right (though he was writing fiction) when he portrayed death as God’s GIFT to man: to be the transition whereby man passes from earthly life into a newer and closer existence with God, but that death itself became corrupted when man chose his own path to immortality instead of God’s.
I wouldn’t take this too far, in that we really don’t know all the details, but perhaps it wasn’t (and isn’t) biological death that is or ever was the enemy, but rather that death of that sort got corrupted along with everything else in creation and thereby became our enemy as it became a tool for separation from, rather than approach to, God.
This would make sense out of the fact that we still die, even as believers, but we need not fear death because in Jesus, death is not the end of the story. The grave has not been eliminated, but it HAS been defanged: “O death, where is thy sting?” This is why John of Patmos was able to write in Rev. 14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’”
So rejoice in the knowledge that your king defeated the enemy’s ultimate weapon of mass destruction–death as separation from God–and now invites us to live in, and work for his Kingdom from now until that Kingdom overtakes the entire fallen world.