The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:26
Death is big business. In the United States alone, the funeral industry generates 20 billion dollars per year. Funeral homes employ tens of thousands. Add to that the number of people who work for the makers of caskets, urns, hearses, vaults, floral arrangements, and gravestones. And add to that the number of people who maintain cemeteries, crematoriums, and mausoleums. In the US, there are 2.7 million annual funerals. And with ten thousand baby boomers hitting the age of 65 every single day, there should be an abundance of funerals for years to come. Without question, death provides employment and a good living for a lot of people.
The big dollars and the big employment numbers change nothing, however. Death is still the same devastating beast it has always been. It brings crippling grief and waves of pain. It brings a depth of loneliness and loss from which many never fully recover. Do a search for quotes about death, and you’ll find all the easy clichés: “Death is a part of life,” “People don’t really die as long as someone remembers them,”—you know the kind. But it takes classic punk rocker John Lydon to display some real candor about death. “I hate death,” he says. “It takes people away from you. You’re left feeling rudderless.”
When the Son of God entered our time and space in the person of Jesus Christ, he saw death for the monster that it is. He knew that the specter of death was a direct result of sin—your sin and mine. And so Jesus didn’t come to dress it up, to compromise with it, or make it more polite. He came to destroy it.
And destroy it he did. Jesus lived a perfect life as our substitute. He went to the cross to pay for our every wrong. In so doing, he pulled the cause of death out by its roots and threw it into the fire. That’s why he rose from death three days later. He did it to remove all doubt that he had crushed and defeated death once and for all time.
That leaves only life. Eternal life. With Jesus.
Lord Jesus, thank you for destroying death. When grief comes calling, refresh me in what you have done. Amen.
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