Ever since the creation of mankind and the eventual fall of Adam and Eve, humanity has been plagued by one of its most menacing enemies – Death itself. It is important for us to note that death was not the original intent of God’s plan and have never been part of his eternal purpose (Genesis 1 & 2). However it is due to Adam and Eve’s (and ours) transgression of God’s commandment that God had to inflict this penalty on them and their descendants – the penalty of death (Genesis 3).
The Grim Reaper has ever since dogged us, hunt us down one by one, ruthlessly pounced on us regardless of time and circumstances, and taken away our loved ones.
“…for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19 NIV)
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away…” (Job 1:21 NIV)
Eventually, man’s egoistic nature did not allow him to repent. Instead, man took great pride in death and soon men started inflicting death on each other. Cain killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8) and when God asked him about Abel’s whereabouts Cain replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)
Man became pleased at the death of fellow man. Clarence Darrow once said, “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”
But the same cannot be said of God.
"For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone", declares the Sovereign LORD. "Repent and live!" (Ezekiel 18:32 NIV)
God cares about us and God wants us to repent and return to Him.
'…As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die…?' (Ezekiel 33:11 NIV)
Death, in God’s word, meant a physical death – separation of soul from body, and a spiritual death – eternal destruction of the soul in hell. Adam’s sin brought with it both the physical death as well as the spiritual death.
God knew that mankind would never be able to overcome death on its own. Victory over death required a sinless human being to fight the battle and eventually triumph. So the all powerful and almighty God took the form of a human – Jesus Christ. Christ took death face on and fought a grueling and vicious battle with the Grim Reaper himself!
It was a battle of the ages! Christ – the Son of the living God – on one side and Death – Satan’s most powerful ally – on the other. Mano-a-mano! But tragedy struck! They flogged Him, battered Him with everything they could, and they finally nailed Him to the cross. There, on that hill, Christ died a brutal death. His body was taken down, wrapped in linen, and buried in an unmarked tomb. Was it the end? Had Satan finally triumphed over God?
Wait a minute! Jesus once said, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." (John 2:19 NIV)
Didn’t He mean his own body? There had to be a mistake! No there isn’t any mistake, because…
“HE HAS RISEN”, cried the angel at Jesus’ empty tomb. Three days later, our Lord, our Supreme Lord, resurrected from the dead and visited His disciples! How did it happen? God the Father came to the rescue, He sent His Spirit to quicken the body of His Son. For He had once declared, “I will not allow my loved one to see decay.” (Psalm 16:10) God raised up His Son and there stood Jesus, triumphant over death. He came in the form of a man and fought out battle for us, in our name, and He defeated the oldest enemy of mankind. Christ became the ‘last Adam’ and reversed the effects of the first Adam.
So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45 NIV)
Does this mean that we will never die physically? Of course not! What we can cherish through Christ’s resurrection is an abundant life both before our physical death and after it. Christ Himself is the ‘Life of all ages’. We will one day be with Him and with the ‘Eternal Life’. He who has triumphed over death is Life itself.
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies..." (John 11:25 NIV)