I said, “It’s dead.” And that was the first time my little girl experienced what death is in her innocent young life. I remember it vividly. She was only 2 years old, and we saw a dead bug on the patio and she asked, “What’s wrong with that bug?” I said it without thinking, “It’s dead.” And at that moment I wished I could capture those words and take them back from her innocent ears, but it was too late. She repeated what I said not understanding saying, “It’s dead?” How we want to protect our children and their innocence from the cruel realities that they will eventually be confronted with in this life, but the good news is Jesus has already addressed the issue of the cold lifeless painful question of, “Its dead?”
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live.” Jesus addressed the question of death for Mary and Martha as they grieved over their brother Lazarus who had been dead for four days by the time Jesus arrived. And Jesus also addressed the issue of death for us, his children. As the scripture tells us, “O death where is thy sting, O grave wear is thy victory?” I felt the twinge of sorrow as I had to see a little bit of my daughters innocences fade away on that warm summer day, but that sting of death has no more power for the believer in Jesus Christ.
Because of Christ the grave has no more victory over us. Jesus had the final say. Jesus tells us, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” What great news, what joy. Unless the rapture happens in your and my lifetime, death will one day inevitably come to separate us from the ones we love, but death for the believer has no sting, and the grave has no victory for those who are in Christ. It’s only temporary. The sting of death is gone and the victory for the grave has been vanquished by our Savior. The sin debt that He paid on His cruel cross for each one of us who has come to believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the victory that He secured for us when He walked out of the grave three days later is ours when we believe and confess Jesus as Lord of our life and believe God raised Him from the dead.
Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” I remember my own experience of losing the innocence of my youth. At just sixteen years old my family and I watched the flood waters engulf our world. We watched as the dark brown waters slowly encroached upon all that I knew in my limited understanding of the world. I was at a lost and slowly sunk into a depression. I remember my parents and their concern as they asked my grandfather, my Pastor, to talk with me. I sat across from my grandfather at my great aunt’s table where we met and expressed to him how I didn’t understand life and how it all seems to be out of my control and would be over soon. He looked me in the eye and I remember him saying, “David, all of us come to this understanding of life, your just learning it a little younger than most.”
Have you learned that lesson yet? That life is cruel and no matter what worldly success you may think you have attained that it can and will be pulled from your cold dead fingers one day? But there is hope. The only thing that really matters in this life is what you have done with Jesus. Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, or have you put Him in a box? Have you put Him in a box where you only call out to Him when a momentary crisis comes? Do you put Him in a box when the only time you think of Him is when you go to church on Sunday, if you decided to go at all? It is certain that one day, unless the Lord Jesus returns to take those of us who believe in Him in the rapture, we will all be put in a box. At that time whatever we did with Jesus will be determined and settled forever. Our fate will be sealed. Will death have its sting with you? Will the grave have its victory over your eternal soul? Will Hell claim you for it’s own? It will without Jesus. He is your only way. John 14:6 reminds us, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The only way to make it out of this world alive and to God the Father, in right standing, is through the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Will you choose Him today? If you will, you will be reminded as I was on that warm summer day with my daughter, that death no longer carries its sting and the grave no longer has victory over us who believe in Jesus. Charles Spurgeon said it well, “The first death we must endure unless the Lord should suddenly come to His temple. For this let us abide In readiness, awaiting it without fear, since Jesus has transformed death from a dreary cavern into a passage leading to glory.” Because of Calvary I can look death square in the eyes and I can gently look my young daughter in the eyes and sing, “Oh victory in Jesus my Savior forever, He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.” My hope for you is that you may know that same victory over the grave and that death will no longer have its sting in your life. My daughter will eventually through the hardships of life learn the full reality about death, but my prayer for her is that she will also come to learn about her Victor, and receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Her only true hope. Mine and your only hope as well beyond the certainty of the finality of this life and for the hope of eternal life. My hope for you is that you come to know him too. And then one day you can look death in the face and say confidently as you quote the living Word of God, “O death where is thy sting, O grave wear is they victory?”
“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson