DEATH – WHERE IS THY STING?

I CORINTHIANS 15:51-58: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible will have put on incorruptibility and this mortal will have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Torah. But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! Therefore, my dearly loved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord—because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” TLV

OBSERVATION: Is the Resurrection something that is merely future, or does it impact my life each day? Paul addresses the Corinthian Church regarding the surety of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and our future resurrection through Christ. The truth of the resurrection is something that we must grasp by faith. It is not something that our finite minds can really understand. However, when we have a revelation of the resurrection in our spirit it can totally change the way we live each and every day.

I will never forget the day I received the call that my dear colleague and close friend, that I had worked with for 35 years, had just passed away. I could not believe it. It was the day after Easter Sunday. I had just read a Facebook post that he had made that very night. And then it happened, unexpected and suddenly, he died from a heart attack. I was asked to not only represent my company at his funeral, I was asked to preside over the entire service.

As I traveled to Oklahoma I knew that I needed to be strong for his daughter and extended family. However, I was grieving myself. It was only the grace of God that gave me the strength. He had died so suddenly that he looked exactly the same in his coffin as the last time I saw him. It was hard to believe that he was dead. I knew his spirit was with Jesus, but his earthly tabernacle that I knew for over 35 years just lay their – lifeless.

I think this is what Paul is thinking of when he refers to the sting of death. Even as believers death has a sting. We miss the physical presence of the one we loved. If we did not have a hope of seeing them again there would be no comfort. Yet, we have a sure hope, and this is the hope of the resurrection. Not only will we be reunited in spirit when we get to heaven, but on that great day, the day when we hear the sound of the “great shofar” (the last trumpet) – our spirits will also be reunited with our glorified bodies. For those who trust in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, the sting of death will be completely vanquished. God will restore even their (and our) earthly tabernacle that we loved and fellowshipped with in this life.

  • “But when this corruptible will have put on incorruptibility and this mortal will have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”

The corruptible that Paul is talking about is our earthly bodies. Death may think it has won a partial victory, but death will be swallowed up in His Victory on that great day. The corruptible will have become incorruptible. There will be no more sickness, disease, or physical disability or limitation. Our bodies will be restored to God’s original intent before the curse of sin. Our bodies will be restored, perfected, and glorified, just like the risen Christ! Paul cries out,

  • “But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!”

This blessed assurance changes the way we view death and the way we view life. Life is not a pointless and endless struggle. It is merely a training period for our eternal life with Jesus Christ, and a waiting period for the promised resurrection. When we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, we walk in the confidence of His grace. When we know that everything that this life has taken away will be restored (our bodily resurrection), we walk in the hope of an eternal perspective. God is and will restore everything!

Each Monday I used to give my dear friend a call. We would talk about our weekend, get caught up on our families, and review the business for the week at hand. It has been over two years now since his passing, and yet every Monday I find myself wanting to make that call. I am looking forward to the day when I am reunited with him in heaven, and when I can once again see that look he used to give right before he would say something to tease me. Until then, I take head to the words of Paul as he closes his discourse on the resurrection.

  • “Therefore, my dearly loved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord—because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Each day I am called to live life to the fullest. I am called to live life to the glory of God. I am called to live life with an eternal perspective. I am called to live life in the hope of the resurrection. Death has lost its sting. My loved ones in Christ are now in the presence of the King. One day we will be reunited in sweet fellowship, both in heaven, and on that great day of the Resurrection! What a glorious hope! What a powerful comfort!

Monday is a coming! Talk to you soon good friend!

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is pastor of The Fellowship at Weatherford, a Foursquare Church in Weatherford, Texas. He has developed an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information please send an email to klzehnder@aol.com
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