"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NLT)
Paul, the wise writer of these words so long ago, still sounds a little cheeky to us. Is he really taunting Death? Doesn't he understand the ravenous cruelty and heart-crushing heaviness of this mammoth enemy called Death? Doesn't he know he will taste his own defeat to Death? That what he taunts will rob his every loved one from him, and finally his own failing body? Last time I checked Paul, wasn't walking around anymore. What did Paul know that we don't that makes him so condescending to the one thing that will take us all down?
Paul knows and believes that Hope is here, and His name is Jesus. He knows that when Death takes us down, Jesus will raise us up into a heavenly world where Death itself is a puny fly crushed dead under Jesus' heel. He knows that Death doesn't have the last word, but that Jesus, the Word from the Beginning, will have the final say.
Where has Death taunted you? Where does sin sting right now? It is a real burden for all of us, this Mammoth Death, this Stinking Sin. We cannot deny their presence in our lives, but we can say with Paul, "Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
O God, where is your defeat? Nowhere and at no time. Remind me, God, that you are always victorious. O God, where is your sweetness? Everywhere and every time. Remind me, God, that you are always good. Hope is here, and it's in my heart, God, because Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, lives there. Thank you! Amen.