“On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:7,8).
Are you longing for the resurrection?
As we begin another season of Lent, resurrection talk might seem strange. Are we putting the cart before the horse? Yet on any journey, we need to know our destination. So what is Lent’s destination? The death of death.
Death and its death
Death doesn’t care who we are or where we come from. Death just ruins life. Isaiah describes death as “the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations.” A burial shroud covers what death has done. Death covers us all with sorrow and grief, leaving behind emptiness and pain. Death swallows life whole and refuses to return it.
Yet Isaiah points us over here to a tomb cracked open and empty and over there to Satan crushed in the dust. Walking away from it all, Christ the Conqueror swallows the last shreds of death with resurrection glory. “He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.” Christ is the death of death.
Jesus’ defeat of death
As you travel to the cross, see Jesus who knew death from experience. See Jesus experience the effects of death in a dying world. Yet Jesus never grieves helplessly over death. He defeats it.
Jesus stands in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jairus (Luke 8:49-56). Death had unexpectedly taken their 12-year-old daughter. Yet the One who is truly God takes her by the hand and gives her back alive to her parents. Death can’t stop the Savior. The great shroud starts to tear.
Jesus walks toward a small town called Nain (Luke 7:11-17). A funeral procession winds its way out of town. A young man has died. Tears of grief streak the cheeks of his widowed mother. Yet the One who gives life dries her tears by telling her son to get up. Jesus gives him back to his mother alive, and death can do nothing about it. Death dies a little more.
Jesus stands before the tomb of his friend Lazarus (John 11:1-43). Jesus weeps over what death has done. Yet the One who is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) commands Lazarus to come out of the tomb . . . and death can’t hold him back. Death dies even more as the great shroud tears again.
Jesus hangs nailed to a cross, where he faces death head on. Jesus pays the full wages for our sins until finally he cries out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). On that Friday afternoon, death seems to swallow up the Son of God, life and all, but remember who “will swallow up death forever”!
Death does all it can to keep Jesus in the tomb for three days, but then Sunday comes! “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6). The tomb is empty! Death is defeated! Jesus now dries our tears with comfort that only he can give.
Christ is the death of death, and one day he will be the death of our death too. Death will no longer contain us or our loved ones in the Lord. We will stand before the Lord holy and alive, body and soul, because death is dead.
Long for that reality as you begin your journey this Lent because Christ is the death of death.
PRAYER: Lord, as I follow you this Lenten season, lead me to long for the death of death, which is mine through your victory over death. Amen.
Author: Jeremiah Gumm
Volume 111, Number 02
Issue: February 2024
- The death of death
- New resolve for a new year
- Joseph also went up
- The secret of being content
- Known for a higher hope
- Known as God’s distinctive community
- Embodying God’s calling
- Help from the Mountain Maker
- The need for a bold confession
- More than enough
- Don’t judge a book by its cover
- One for all
- I love you
- Resolving to share joy
- Miracle in the mess
- Thank God for conflict
- Plant the Seed
- The cameras are rolling
- Too many words
- Now what?
- Do you mind if I come in?
- Facts over feelings
- The most loving friendship
- The old has gone, the new is here!
- Believe the Christmas miracles
- He’s coming—really!
- Power over death
- Deliver us from evil
- Overwhelmed but not overcome
- Money talks!
- Freedom’s value is in its use
- Joyful repentance
- The world’s leading philanthropist is our friend
- Like Joseph
- But you promised!
- The church sees color
- We believe, therefore we listen
- Clarity in life from closeness to death
- Be like Jesus in forgiveness and love
- Be gentle like Jesus
- Jesus is for the birds
- Death dies on this mountain
- Repent of deception
- Resolutions of faith
- God loves the doubters
- Grieving in hope
- Personal reformation
- Be imitators of Jesus in doing good
- God’s actors
- Our shelter in God’s shadow
- God’s promised rest
- Our very great reward
- Keeping the festival
- Close enough to love
- Called to love, called to speak
- Epiphanies change everything