Swallowing Up Death

Isaiah 25:1-8
[God] will swallow up
death forever! (v.8).

Yesterday, I met Stephen and Roxanne at a hotel.
They needed help as they entered one of the most
difficult days any parent could envision. Matt,
a graduate student at the University of Virginia and
member of our church community, died in a freakish
bike collision. This should never happen. A father should
never bury a son. A mother should never have to dig
through her dead boy’s lonely apartment. There is so
much to celebrate in Matt’s good life (his deep heart, for
instance—his last hours were spent serving in a homeless
shelter). There is much to curse, however, about his
passing. Death is a menacing villain.

The prophet Isaiah wrote to his people in anticipation of
their Babylonian captivity. Isaiah spoke with language that
cast God as the powerful, conquering God—strong enough
and bold enough to take on every enemy the besieged
people faced. God was the One who would “turn
mighty cities into heaps of ruin” and who would “silence
the roar” of violent armies afflicting them (25:2,5).
The ultimate enemy our conquering God would crush,
however, would be death itself. Death is our wretched
foe—our enemy and, thankfully, God’s enemy. In Jesus,
God has defeated death, showing that He is Lord over
all—even over death (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Melito of Sardis, a church father from the third century,
powerfully captured this truth as he wrote:
When the Lord had clothed Himself with humanity, and had suffered for the
sake of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned, and
had been judged for the sake of the condemned, and buried for the sake of the
one who was buried, He rose up from the dead, and cried with a loud voice:
Who is he who contends with Me? —Winn Collier

How does 1 Corinthians
15:55-57 describe
Jesus’ victory?

Where have you
experienced death
as an enemy? What
does it mean for you to
acknowledge Jesus as
victor over death?

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