Was Paul deaf and blind when he wrote: “Death where is your sting? Grave where is your victory”? All right, so he didn’t have our terminology, words like, hospice care, terminal wards and such. But he couldn’t have been ignorant of the stark reality of Death and Death’s sting (Sin) that was everywhere he looked. He couldn’t have missed the groaning of the diseased and dying, couldn’t have been ignorant of the cemeteries and tombs that shouted or whispered to him everywhere he walked.
What kind of fool was this man who dismissed Sin & Death with a scornful shout? Still, he might have been profoundly wise, and had a mesmerizing philosophy and logical arguments that enabled him to know what lesser mortals like us can’t quite grasp.
He wasn’t speaking about “life after death,” don’t you know! Life after death speaks of the victory of Death and Paul was speaking of its pathetic weakness despite a world filled with the dead and dying. He spoke not of the survival of a ghostly something but of the final and utter obliteration of Death in resurrection to immortality, And what does he base his scornful dismissal of Sin & Death on?
On a single person! One human among all the humans that ever lived or will live. A young Jewish Carpenter who said to Death, “I’ll meet you on that hill yonder and understand this, I will destroy you!” Cf. Hebrews 2:14.
We’re tempted to forget how scandalous the Christian’s faith is! Everything hangs on one little human (the human God is being, but a human that God is being). Nowhere else. No one else!
If Jesus Christ did not rise, if He is not forever alive this glorious limitless expanding universe is nothing more than a colossal coffin! Tell of its beauty and magnificence, tell of its breathtaking quasar clusters, its spiral nebulae, its spellbinding galactic collisions but when we’re done, if Jesus, the carpenter Son of God, has not not conquered Death & Sin we’re describing a massive coffin where all that is kind, hopeful, gallant, unselfish and just perishes and is entombed!
“But now is Christ risen!”