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I will always remember the first time that someone close to me died. It was my grandmother, and I was about 7 or 8. There was nothing particularly traumatic about her death; she was older and died of cancer. But as an eight-year-old kid, I was experiencing, for the first time in my life, the emptiness and loss that death brings, a loss that we’re all too familiar with.
Recently, I’ve been watching the TV show “The Flash,” a fictional show about the comic book hero with super-human speed. It’s a fun show that I’ve really enjoyed, but it is definitely a TV show based on a comic book. There are many elements of the show that make it feel like a comic book; one of which is that they keep killing off characters only to bring them back to life in the very next episode. Whether it’s through time travel or a dopple-ganger from a parallel universe, every time someone dies, you’re just waiting for them to come back in one way or another. By bringing characters back all the time, the show cheapens death. But that is not the world we live in. Everything we see in the world around us tells us that death is final; there is nothing we can do to circumvent the system, to get around the inevitability and finality of death. For all our modern technology, death is still the one inescapable reality of life.
When Jesus died, his disciples felt the full weight of His death. They, like you and me, had felt the finality of death over and over again as friends and family members passed away. They had no expectation that He would rise again; all they knew was that their friend and teacher was dead and he had left them feeling empty and sad.
Too often, we want to jump immediately from Good Friday to Easter. We know how the story ends, so why dwell on the sadness? We want to move as quickly as possible to celebration. The problem with this is that we subconsciously place Jesus’ resurrection into a comic book universe. We forget that Jesus died and rose in the same world we live in, a world where death is final. If we skip over Friday and Saturday, we may cheapen the resurrection by forgetting that Jesus’ death was part of the flesh and bones, living and dying, world that we inhabit. The time for celebration will come. As we gather for Easter, we will not be worshiping a dead Lord, but a risen Lord. But between now and then, spend some time meditating on Christ’s death. Remember that He truly was dead, his body was cold, and he was buried. His life was over. The gospel speaks to our situation because it meets us in our sadness and brokenness. It does not jump over the difficulties of life. Instead, it meets us in these very difficulties because the gospel itself begins on the darkest day the world has ever known.
Scripture: John 20:1-31
Sermon: His Empty Tomb Empties Yours