Here is something we know deep down, but don’t know that we know it.
Whoever controls death, controls our lives.
What I mean by this is that whoever holds the power of life and death in their hands, has power. This is true in so many ways. It’s true in our health, relationships, governments, and most of all faith.
Death has the ability to end things, which is why it has power. Therefore, whoever controls death has power.
Think of it this way, the state controls the power of death, so it has judicial power and weight. If we do something wrong the state can end our lives (either through imprisonment, or through capital punishment). The point is that since they control those outcomes, they have power, leverage, and strength.
The same thing can be said to happen in medicine. That since doctors can help save us from death (i.e. control death) they have power. We will follow their advice, and make changes as necessary. They have power that flows from their knowledge of life and death.
And these examples are not bad things; they are just real life things. We need government, and we need health care. My point is a larger underlying one. That whoever controls death, in some manner or fashion has power (either positively with health care, or negatively with the state).
This is even true in a small way in relationships. Often the person who cares the least in a relationship has the most power, because they can and might threaten to end the relationship (i.e. the power of death).
I know for many this post might be a bit difficult to follow or apply, but this deeply matters for our faith. If it is true that controlling death and life brings power, then we can understand why Jesus had to die.
Jesus had to die to conquer death. Jesus had to die to wrest power from death. Jesus had to die to conquer death, so that we might live.
This is what the Bible is getting at when it says that Jesus gives us victory over sin and death (1 Cor 15:57), that God will swallow up death for all time (Isaiah 25:8), that death is the last enemy to be defeated (1 Cor. 15:26), and render the devil powerless by taking away the power of death (Heb 2:14).
The point is that death no longer has any power, because Jesus has stripped death bare, shown him to be empty, and has taken away his power. Death still happens, but it doesn’t need to control or drive us because we know death doesn’t win. Death isn’t the end, and we don’t guess at this – we know this because Jesus has shown it. Jesus rose again, proving death is no longer something to be feared because death doesn’t last.
So when death says – “I will end your” life, future, friendship, whatever it maybe, we no longer need to live in fear, or in its control. We can live free because of Jesus Christ because death lost, and it no longer has the full power to end things, because Jesus can resurrect things.
My main idea is this: that whoever controls death has power, and that Jesus now controls death because he beat it and conquered it. And that’s good news.