“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)
We have all felt the sting of death — in losing a loved one to cancer, or in wrestling with our own weaknesses, or in trying to live with our failures, or in navigating broken relationships in our family, or in battling any of the other cruel consequences of sin. The whole world is dying for resurrection.
How has death crept into your life? Where have you felt the sting the most?
The man who wrote 1 Corinthians had not only tasted the darkness of death, but had himself killed Christians. He had been willing to murder followers of Jesus to silence them. When he writes about death, he writes with blood on his hands. But the risen Christ met the murderer, and raised him from dead.
If God could breathe life into Saul’s story, imagine what he could do in the darkest, deadest parts of yours.
What If Christ Never Rose?
But what if Christ had never risen? The former murderer now says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. . . . If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17–19). If Christ never took another breath, never left the tomb, never appeared to his disciples, and never ascended into heaven — if he never lived again — then we would never stop dying.
We would carry our sin, our shame, and our pain through the grave into something far worse than death — if Jesus had not risen from his grave. If his final breath on the cross had been his final breath. And if we never stopped dying, fear would rule our short and hopeless lives.
But death could not stifle his breath. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Our King borrowed the tomb for three short days before securing his victory over death forever. And his victory is our victory if we are willing to die with him into everlasting life.
But many days our fears feel far more real than his victory.
Do You Believe This?
Before Jesus died, he said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). When did he say that, and why? In the moments after Mary and Martha watched their brother Lazarus die, they had called for Jesus, but he hadn’t come right away...so Lazarus died. Martha was distraught, wondering why Jesus didn’t come sooner. Have you ever felt like God was late in your life — like he watched you suffer when he could have done something?
What does Jesus say to Martha? “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26).
Martha did believe him, and four days after Lazarus had died, Jesus called him out of the tomb. And a matter of days later, Jesus himself walked out of the tomb. And when he did, he called us all out of the tomb, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” Do you believe this?
If you do believe, death has no power over you anymore. Whenever fears begin to creep in again, you can sing with Paul, “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” (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).
Fear will only ever melt away in the face of something stronger than our fears: in the face of our fear-conquering King.
Fear Gives Way
Hebrews says, “[Christ] himself likewise partook of [flesh and blood], that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14–15).
The fear that held us now gives way
To Him who is our peace.
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me.
You are not a slave to death anymore. Now, not even death “will be able to separate [you] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39). What used to be your worst fear now only brings you home to him forever.