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O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NLT)

Ever noticed how we have a tendency to measure milestones in our lives by tragedy? Usually that tragedy involves death. In my generation the question is often “Where were you when you got the news that JFK was assassinated?” Today the question is usually, “Where were you when the report about 9/11 came onto the news?”

Why is death such a prominent marker for us? The answer may be somewhat obvious. Death is, in the human mindset, the end of all things for the victim. A person’s influence is measured by what he did between his date of birth and the date of his death. As one person said, all of life is measured by the dash between birth and death.

Imagine the emotions of Jesus’ disciples when they watched him take his last breath. If things had turned out differently, years after his crucifixion the question would have been “Where were you when Jesus died?”

Instead, the question that circulated New Testament Palestine was probably, “Where were you when you heard ‘He’s Alive!” ? Imagine the crowd gathering around the person who answered, “I didn’t just HEAR he was alive, I actually SAW he was alive!  I was one of the lucky ones. I stood on the hillside and watched him ascend!”

What a comfort that must have been to the early believers. They didn’t follow a dead Messiah. Worship was based on what they saw, not on what they’d heard or read. Even though none of them ever saw Jesus return (we’re still waiting anxiously for that!), they knew he was alive and that he was the same Jesus who walked with them along the road.

I remember exactly what I was doing when I received the phone call that my 21 year-old brother had died suddenly. I stood at the bedside of my mom as she breathed her last breath.  I cried in the emergency room when I heard that a dear friend had just died after a tragic car accident and comforted his children and wife.

I felt the pain. I experienced the anguish of others as well as my own. But the pain of death I felt was mourning for the loss of people dear to me. But the sting was absent because I know that death will have no victory over those who are in Jesus Christ.

When Jesus rose from the dead he did more than finish the work of my forgiveness, He defeated death once and for all. Let life through what it will at me. Because of Jesus death, burial and resurrection and based on my personal decision to follow him, death will have no victory over me!

PRAYER: Father God, it’s so easy to worry about life. It’s sometimes a little scary to think about death simply because of the unknowns. But I praise you today for the fact that because of Jesus I can look forward to death because even though I don’t know WHAT lies on the other side, I know WHO waits for me. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

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September 2011
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