The Hero died… but that’s not the end of the story…

 Several world problems were mentioned in our ‘SHORT READ’ that seem overwhelming to us today including pandemic, war, environmental catastrophe, violence, moral decline, etc. These are things for which man can only provide a temporary or inadequate solution.  Jesus promised that he would come back to Earth and set up a Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace where such problems will be resolved and become a distant memory.  

 However, there is another central aspect of Jesus’ heroism which is of vital importance to each and every one of us.  It is this: by giving his life, Jesus defeated the power of death itself.  Death is not something we easily contemplate.  Psychologists say that at the bottom of a great deal of depression, anxiety and disordered thinking is the ‘hidden fear’ or ‘core belief’, “I’m going to die alone”.  Death is the ultimate loneliness.  No matter how many loved ones gather around a death bed they cannot stop the death or accompany their beloved into the state of death.  The Bible tells us that death is a cessation of existence or consciousness; we simply return to the dust from which we were created.  God introduced death as the righteous punishment for sin: ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23) and since the first pair, Adam and Eve, all people inherit a mortal, sinful nature.  But God is not just a God of righteousness, He is also a God of mercy.  In His mercy God declared that all who put their faith in Jesus his Son, and show their loving response to his sacrifice in their lives, can be raised from death to eternal life.  Baptism is the rite which proclaims this belief, as commanded by Jesus. 

 ‘Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.’ Mark 16:16

 ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and onlySon, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.’  John 3:16,17


 At Easter, Christians focus on Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It is the Springtime in the Northern hemisphere; a time of year when Nature itself is demonstrating resurrection from the ‘death’ of Winter.  Green leaves are appearing on dry branches and little shoots are breaking through the soil.  The Apostle Paul used this imagery when he was encouraging the early Christians in Corinth to hold onto their belief in resurrection from death.  He said to them in 
 1 Corinthians 15:

 ‘But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body…. (verses 35-38)
 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (verses 42-44)
 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 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.’ (verses 54-57)


 It is well worth reading the whole chapter and meditating on Paul’s argument.  He begins by laying out all the witnesses to Christ’s resurrection.  He knows it is a difficult thing to believe, but he is at pains to show it is not just wishful thinking.  This is because it is by FAITH we are saved from death; not by any efforts we can make ourselves.  Isn’t this just as well?  It is not only a core belief but also a true belief, that we cannot save ourselves from death.  On the other hand the ‘core belief’: “I am going to die alone” does not have to be true.  Jesus promised his followers that he would never leave us or forsake us even in death.  The Apostle Paul was inspired to write these words:

 ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’  Romans 8:38,39