Devotion for Jan 23-25, 2018

“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. -1 Corinthians 15:55-57

When a professional sports team wins their league championship, there is always a celebratory parade. When a football team wins the Super Bowl, the city gathers the players together and they have them travel slowly along downtown streets on a float. The victory trophy is held high and fans, lining the sidewalks, cheer loudly.

We saw it recently on the news when the Green Bay Packers defeated their opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers. We saw it last year in Chicago when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers.

The season of Easter is our prolonged celebratory parade of Jesus’ victory. His opponents weren’t 25 hockey players from Philadelphia; he didn’t defeat 45 large football players from Wisconsin. Singlehandedly defeating 100 professional athletes would’ve been much easier than the victory Jesus scored.

Professional athletes can be defeated. The armies of the world lose battles and wars. But Death is never defeated. He always conquers and is never satisfied. It’s nearly impossible for us to even imagine a world without Death. “Death is just another part of life” some say–this enemy is so common and its victory is so inevitable.

But not so! A world without Death? Jesus has established it! A world in which Death is weak, helpless, and ineffective? Jesus has done it? A world in which Death is defeated, humiliated, given a finishing blow, gone and never coming back? Jesus is the Victorious One who has done exactly that!

Jesus battled Death on the cross and emerged victorious on Easter morning! He has defeated the enemy who stalks you and all people. He has taken Death’s spoils! He has made death a laughing stock!

O Death, where’s your victory now? There is none! Jesus has won the victory! O Death, where’s your sting? The sting of death we all fear has been removed.

And, like we do for all victorious armies or championship sports teams, we cheer! We gather together! We hear of our Victorious Christ and the Scriptures retell his eternal victory again and again. We sing triumphant hymns of the Resurrection. “Alleluia! Alleluia!” we shout again and again. Jesus has done what we could never do. Jesus has won the impossible victory. Death is swallowed up in Jesus’ life forever. As Jesus lives forever, we are promised that we will live in the Victor’s glory forever by faith.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you have given us the victory of your Resurrection. Strengthen us and keep us steadfast in the Faith, that we may abide in your glory here and time and then in eternity; in your Holy Name we pray. Amen.