Fourth Sunday after Easter – Friday
Death is swallowed up in victory. – 1 Corinthians 15:54.
When the dead will rise, and those will have been changed who will be living when Christ will appear on Judgment Day, “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written: Death is swallowed up in victory” (v. 54). “That is to say,” writes Dr. Luther, “death will lie prostrate and have no more power; and life will be on top, as it were, and say: The combat has been won! Where art thou, death?” Then we believers can shout in glee and sing: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death [that which brought death into the world and gave it the power it has over us to destroy and devour us and to drag us down to hell] is sin, and the strength of sin [that which makes sin so deserving of death] is the Law [the divine Law, which we have transgressed], but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 55-57).
Our Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins for us, in our stead, as our Substitute, and rendered full satisfaction to the Law of God. He entered into combat with death, our death, conquered it, arose triumphantly, brought eternal life to light for us, calls us to Himself, gives us His victory, His righteousness, His life, His blessedness, and glory. Indeed, death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting? “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Through the perfect, finished obedience and sacrifice of Christ in our behalf and in behalf of “the whole world” (I John 2:2), God has forgiven our sins and the sins of the whole “world” (II Corinthians 5:19).
This Gospel message has brought us to receive, by faith, this precious forgiveness so that now we are equipped to live more and more for Him who died for us “and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:14-15). Hallelujah!
PRAYER – Yes, amen, hallelujah, Lord Jesus Christ! I see Thee, with the eyes of faith, and have Thee as my only Savior. And so I see and have light from Thee, “the Light of the world” (John 8:12) in the darkness of sin and death. All sin has been forgiven; death has lost all its terrors. In my last hour, help me to cheerfully say to Thee: “Lord Jesus, receive my soul!” And Thou shalt also enliven my body and make it heavenly and glorious. Yes, amen, Lord Jesus, Thou wilt surely do this, and give me eternal glory according to Thy sure promises. Praise to Thee, Lord Jesus! Hallelujah! Amen.
Jesus lives, why weepest thou?
Why that sad and frequent sigh?
He who died our Brother here,
lives our Brother still on high;
lives forever to bestow,
blessings on His Church below.
Jesus lives, and thus my soul;
life eternal waits for thee;
joined to Him, thy living Head,
where He is, thou too shalt be;
with Himself, at His right hand,
victor over death shall stand.
(TLH), 188, st. 3-4