“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26
There is nothing in the world that I hate as much as I absolutely hate death. I especially hate it when it comes sneaking in, unexpected and abrupt. We are able (for the most part) to trick ourselves into believing that death is natural when it comes knocking at the door of an elderly person who has “lived a long and full life”. In an effort to lessen the pain death leaves in its wake, we strive to convince ourselves that “it was her time” or “God needed another angel” or something to this effect.
The fact of the matter is, death is our enemy and there is nothing natural about it. It is not natural for the body to be deprived of the soul (and vice versa). It is not natural to no longer be alive. It is completely and utterly unnatural, no matter how old someone is when this unwelcome visitor approaches.
The truth of what I’m saying here is never more evident than those times when death comes so “unexpectedly”. When it takes a young mother or father from spouse and family. Death’s disastrous work is heartbreaking and shocking. The mess it leaves behind is painful and difficult . . . but it is not impossible.
Death may be one of our fiercest enemies, but it will never defeat us. Sure, it will win a number of battles along the way, taking dearly loved family members and friends from us, but the war has already been won – and death has lost. Death is defeated. The last of all our enemies to be cast into the fiery pit created for the devil and his followers. Death is defeated.
Jesus’ three-day rest in the tomb has ensured that our tombs and graves will also be a place of rest as we await His call to return to life. His third-day and forever freedom from the tomb guarantees us freedom from our great oppressor, death. Freedom that allows us to not only talk about life in the face of death, but to flaunt our certain confidence in the life given us that death will never be able to touch or take away.
Faith in Jesus is faith in life that will not end. Jesus is the resurrection and the life and through Him we come before the Father to live resurrected lives. This sure and certain hope comforts us in the face of our fierce enemy, death.
“For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
For All the Saints (Lutheran Service Book, 677)