NIV Romans 6:9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
When I was young, I played “army” with other kids in the neighborhood. Sometimes we would have toy guns, sometimes a stick gun, or sometimes just our fingers. We would run and hide and shoot and die. When we died we had to count to 10 before we could come back to life. Today, many people play video games in which they are given a certain amount of lives in the game. When they die the game resets and they go one until they use all their lives or win the game.
Death is not a game. Death is the result of accepting deception over truth and desire over instruction. Death is a separation. It is a separation that would be humanities master. Death has the power to being deep pain. Death has a hurtful sting. Fear of death dwells in the back of the mind of every mortal. Yes, the fear can be ignored or veiled. However, I do believe that if one approaches that threshold alone death will be able to bring forth that fear and turn it into despair. No, death is not a game.
Jesus faced death. Jesus knew the fear. In the garden of Gethsemane the reality of facing death brought the deepest kind of anguish. Even God incarnate wished there was a way around facing it. While on the cross, in the midst of pain, in the hands of death itself, Jesus cried out in despair (Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”– which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Death thought it had won. Death had not won. Jesus commitment Himself to the Father’s will and care and three days later death was mastered. Death now faces despair. Death could not keep hold of Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead. But Jesus did more than just come back to life, He came back with new life. He came back with life to share. He came back to give us hope.
Now we do not have to count to 10 but we do need to wait. We do not have a certain amount of lives, but we can have eternal life with God through faith in Jesus. When we let His death become our death His life becomes our life. When we approach the veil where death waits to claim us, death is pushed aside, despair is nowhere to be found because Jesus walks us through to our ultimate purpose, our true destination. We shall live with God.
Yes, in the season of Lent, death is closing in. The drama is relived in the practice of our faith. And no matter how many times it is replayed the results will remain the same. Death will be overcome. Death will be defeated. This is our hope. Growing in this hope is the beginning of our life apart from the power of death. May Jesus be lifted up!