In the musical “Hamilton,” Alexander Hamilton speaks these haunting words in one of the songs:
“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When’s it gonna get me?
In my sleep, seven feet ahead of me?
If I see it comin’, do I run or do I let it be?”
These words acknowledge the reality we all face in a world plagued by death. Some days it’s easier to ignore than others. But in this life we can never fully escape the threat of death and the sorrow it brings. Even in the joyful celebration of Christ’s birth, we know the baby in the manger grew up to be the Savior dying in agony on the cross.
God sent His Son from heaven, where there was no threat of death, to come to a world plagued by death. Jesus Christ humbled Himself to take on decaying human flesh and experience an excruciating, humiliating death. He removed the threat of death from His people by being their substitute and paying the penalty for their sin. He defeated death when He rose again from the grave.
We see this truth about the Messiah’s victory over death in these words of the prophet Isaiah:
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:8)
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15 that these words of Isaiah have been fulfilled in Christ. Paul looks forward to the day when Christ’s victory over death is fully consummated. Death will no longer have any power over us. Its threat will be fully vanquished. Death will be revealed as powerless in light of our Savior’s victory:
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (I Corinthians 15:54-55)
It may feel like the threat of death is all around us. But in Christ’s death, He took away “the reproach of his people” – our sin and guilt – and gave us the promise of eternal life. We now face death with a living hope, Jesus Christ, and know that one day, death will be defeated forever.
No matter what you face this week, Christ’s victory has swallowed up death forever.Share