Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrection Day: Killing Death Itself

Jesus preached a message that could not be tolerated by the entrenched powers of his day. He was therefore publicly tortured and executed by imperial soldiers at the behest of local clerics. They laid him in the grave. Today we celebrate that Jesus did not stay in the grave. He rose up, came out, and appeared to his followers and many others, launching a movement that became Christianity.

The One who said blessed are the poor and hungry and weeping and persecuted and woe to the rich and well fed and laughing and well thought of, now had really turned things upside down. A lot of what Jesus said and did was radical and revolutionary. But on Easter Sunday he launched the revolution against death itself. The ultimate tyrant is exposed as a paper tiger and, by extension, so is every tyrant.

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?


Chris said...

I don't understand this personification of death. The image I'm getting after reading this is Jesus battling the Grim Reaper.

Why is it something to be defeated? Isn't death part of nature? Maybe just coming to the realization that dying should not be feared but rather accepted is the point you and Jesus are making.

There have always been things like this about Christianity that never made sense to me.

Dave said...

I think there is definitely a certain kind of acceptance of death that goes with Christianity. But there's also the sense that death just isn't the way it's supposed to be, that death is an aberration, and that Jesus' resurrection is a preview of what God will one day do on a larger scale.

As for the personification, any words we use to speak of these things are going to be analogies. All in all, I think that Death as a tyrant (whose days are numbered) isn't that bad.

Finally, at some point it's less about what makes sense, and more about what actually happened. "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith," said Paul. But if Christ has been raised, then everything is new.

Amy said...

A-to-the-men, Dave. Great post. You're right--Jesus really was a revolutionary, who turned everything on its ear. He didn't do what ANYONE expected him to do, not even his best friends. After a couple thousand years, we get used to Him and forget that sometimes.

I don't so much think that it's the moment of death itself--but that death was defeated in that it is no longer the END for us. (Of course, this is what Christians believe--but then, we ARE talking about Jesus!) :)The "sting" of death was that it was so final, in an earthly and eternal sense. But now, even though we die and our loved ones die, we can grieve with hope.

My two cents, anyhoo.

Chris said...

I think we can at least agree that Jesus is better than machines!

Dave said...

Agreed! Definitely better than machines.