1 Corinthians 15:55-57: “’Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Death is final and brings about futility. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Nobody likes that. We don’t want to be trashed!

So we’ve been fighting back. We’ve been exploring the human body. We’ve been battling against all kinds of diseases with some mild success: people with access to medical services generally live longer. Still, nobody has found a pill to combat mortality.

It has never been a problem for God to change our physical make up. Actually, He thought about that. The story of our creation in the beginning of the Bible talks about that. He could have turned us immortal in a split second, but that’s really no good solution (Genesis 3:22):

“And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ ”

Bailing us out of death would have just placed a band aid on a cancerous situation. In other words, simply removing our physical aging process to give us immortality would have made matters worse.

Imagine everybody – all the way back to Adam and Eve – would have stayed alive in this deeply dysfunctional state that we’re in; can you imagine the resulting chaos? Even though death feels unnatural to us – and it is: we were not meant to die – death helps contain the chaos we’ve created.

Nevertheless, the introduction of death to creation was only a temporary solution. God did intervene and with that the nature of death has forever changed. Instead of being the ultimate end – not unlike a period signifying the end of a sentence – death became a prelude. Again, in terms of punctuation we could compare death to a semicolon.

What happened?

Jesus happened.

To redeem us from death, Jesus had to go to the root cause, the root cause which originally introduced death into God’s creation – our emancipation from the Godhead.

Freedom and independence are words often used interchangeably. In all reality, however, independence is a curse; by no means does independence bring us freedom. Complete independence brings complete isolation without any interaction at all. If we didn’t need anybody – or perhaps I should say: if I didn’t need anybody – because there is no “we” in complete independence – well, then I would be self-sufficient. I would not need to be inspired by any outside source; I would not need access to any sort of help.

I’d be all by myself – utterly alone.

That’s hell.

And that describes the progressing isolation process of the modern world. Family structures loosen. We are interconnected more via virtual reality – our internet and phones – than by physical reality. Our world becomes a little colder every day.

Interestingly, even the Godhead is Three. There is simply no benefit in being alone.

Jesus came to redeem us from isolation. Being reintroduced to communion with the Godhead is the only effective antidote to death. And that’s how freedom is spelled.

1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Death runs in the family. Everybody dies.

There are all kinds of issues arising from death. One is separation anxiety. Separation is a trauma we’re all dealing with at some point in our lives. For me it happened for the first time when I lost my Dad through divorce. When my parents divorced I was 2 years old. I couldn’t voice my confusion back then. If I could have, I would have said something like this: “Dad why did you leave me? I thought you loved me!”

My Dad really didn’t leave me. He was divorced from me.

Death does the same thing. Death divorces people from us.

Death divorced Jesus from the Trinity. For a while the Trinity was reduced to two. Talking about trauma here: It is one thing when families are torn apart; it is quite another when the Trinity is torn apart. Here is what Jesus prayed when He went through the agony of separation (Psalm 22:1):

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

God did not leave Jesus. He was divorced from Him.

The pain of separation has scarred all of creation. “It is finished” Jesus prayed shortly before His physical death on the cross. What is finished? Is Jesus finished? Obviously not, otherwise His last word would have been: “I am finished.” How about: Death is finished? Well, He is about to die, so that can’t be it. How about: My punishment is finished? Still, this doesn’t ring true because his punishment was the death sentence, and He was not dead yet. How about: My mission is accomplished? I believe that with all of my heart. Jesus finished what He was set out to do.

Our souls are housed in our bodies during our lifetime on Earth. Death eventually separates the two. A soul without a home is the greatest agony imaginable. Rootless, restless, hopeless, empty and lost our souls roam without a home. Divorced from God, our souls are drifting gypsies. But praise the Lord! – Jesus has saved us from homelessness. He is currently in heaven preparing a place for us.

God hates divorce and did everything in His power to overcome separation that goes beyond death. Reunited with our Maker, we beat futility. Life on Earth is not business as usual with Jesus in our midst. We get a foretaste of eternal life while we’re still here.

Yes, Jesus is in our midst because His expiration on the cross lasted less than three days. On the third day He rose from the grave. His mission is indeed accomplished. We now have a place to go to, and Heaven is waiting for us to come home.

Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

Brevity of life – what the Psalmist is referring to here is obviously our lifetime on Earth, which is indeed limited. Our soul, however, is ageless and lives forever!

Certainly, not everybody believes in an afterlife. But even if you don’t, all the more is it important to reap the benefits of being here. What are the benefits? The greatest benefit we derive from being alive is giving back to people. My experience is even if we give just a little bit, we receive so much more in return. It may be a little counter-intuitive to live that way, but then, everything God says is counter-intuitive. Take His famous love commandment for instance (Mark 12:30-31):

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

It’s not easy to love a random neighbor. And at times it’s not easy to love yourself. Counter-intuitive, to say the least! And yet, if you go for it and love yourself as well as your neighbor, your life is well-lived. Loving God adds the much-needed third dimension into our lives. Without God, life would be just two-dimensional – my neighbor and me. Include God into the equation, and we gain depth perception. With God comes love that outlasts us. He has loved us long before we even recognized Him. With God comes purpose. Yes, Virginia, there is an afterlife, and God is our eternal home. He created us, we came from Him, and that’s where we belong.

The fact that we’re all going to die at some point is our daily reality. Wrestling with death we hold on to dear life! So did King David when he asked God the question (Psalm 30:9):

“What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?”

The end of our life marks the end of all our activities on Earth. Our activities during our lifetime – good or bad – leave a mark. That’s the kind of legacy we leave. Let’s make a positive impact now, while we’re still here. Let’s invest ourselves; be passionate; fight indifference; love like there’s no tomorrow. Remember: life is short, and each moment here is a gift. We need to use it wisely!


Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night