Thursday, March 24, 2016

Luke 24:1-12 Death Has been Defeated

KEY TEXT: Luke 24:5-10 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 

KEY THOT: Jesus’ body was nowhere in the tomb, except the grave cloths he left behind: “Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves” (v.12). Like the butterfly that emerges from the cocoon, Jesus’ resurrection body simply went through the linen cloths that were used to wrap his dead body. It was not just his soul that left his dead body: the whole body was transformed and it could not be contained by the linen cloths that wrapped tightly around it. Unlike the butterfly which has to emerge through an opening in the cocoon, Jesus’ resurrection body simply went through the grave cloths. In the resurrection, Jesus did not simply reverse the death process—he defeated it once and for all: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55). His new resurrection body is a spiritual body that transcends the limitations of space and time experienced by the natural body. Nothing can hold it down! 

In defeating death, Jesus also defeated Satan for it is through the fear of death that he holds humanity in captivity: “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” (Heb 2:14-16). Thanks be to God that we are no longer held in slavery to Satan because of fear of death but has been set free from Satan because we have been delivered from the fear of death! 

The good news of Jesus Christ is that we can live life to the fullest according to God's purpose. We don't live to avoid death but embrace life and death, for death is no longer the end of life but the start of another exciting life with God that is unlimited and free! What a glorious hope! No wonder Richard Baxter wrote this line in his hymn: "For if Thy work on earth be sweet, what will Thy glory be?"

Father God, what a glorious day when Jesus rose from the dead, for He did not do it just for himself but on behalf of all who believe in Him. Amen.

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