Since Abel was killed by Cain (Gen 4), death has been feared by all. An inevitable fate! With the entrance of sin (Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden- Gen 3), death became the penalty of disobedience to God. Throughout the Old Testament, nothing could erase this penalty. Man's sin was smeared over every generation. Only the annual Passover sacrifice could provide forgiveness of sin and redemption before the Lord. This came with a blood sacrifice (unblemished lamb or goat) at the hands of the High Priest and the Levites.
Death was a dread, an enemy that was always lurking in the shadows wherever man was found. The deceiver, the serpent, the supreme rival of God, Satan himself, was outsmarting men and women 'right and left'. The Spirit may have been willing, but the flesh was weak. Temptation (Satan's great weapon) was strong.
Even the warnings of "keeping God first and foremost in our minds and hearts"(Prov 3), did not deter man's desire to sin against Him. And the promise of God is this: The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life! (Rom 6:23) Yes, it is that simple! What a dilemma man faced. And there was nothing he could do to escape death.
But in the fullness of time, Christ came into the world "to seek and save that which was lost."(Luke 19:10). Sin had caused a great divide that separated man from God and the annual Passover celebration could not provide complete reconciliation. How, then can sin be silenced? Man can not escape it by himself for sure. So, what can be done?
When Jesus was nailed to the cross, suffering that agonizing death for all mankind, many scoffee and ridiculed him. They declared "this is the end of that troublemaker!" But little did they know, this was just the "beginning of the reign of this King of Kings". When he prayed, "it is finished", He did not mean his mission was finished, but that His earthly life was finished. He simply was being 'transported' into that eternal being - our Savior and Lord!
He was buried and secured in the tomb that evening. After the Sabbath had passed, his body should have been decomposing and no one would want to come near. But when the women arrived at the tomb with their spices and ointment to complete the process of a proper burial, they were startled! The tomb was open, the stone had been pushed aside. And to their dismay, they exclaimed: "He is not here"! When Jesus appeared to the disciples later, He assured them of what had happened - it was just as He had told them it would be. (Matt. 27-28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20) Now the light of understanding began to shine brighter.
"He is alive; He is alive!"...they reassured each other. "Jesus is alive!" That means He conquered death. Death has lost its' string, the power it has held over man from the very beginning. No more victories for death; no more sting either! Yes, what Calvary tells us is - the Cross overshadows death. Once and for all: Death has been silenced - it can never speak again! Rom 8).
Isn't that the message of Easter? Christ has conquered death and reconciled man with God. Through our faith in Jesus as the Savior of the world (God's perfect sacrifice), we can have eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Since we are joint-heirs with Christ, we will be with Him in paradise when we pass through the door 'from this life into eternity'.
Now we fear death no more - it has no hold on us for we have been freed from its' sting. We know our 'earthly tent' will be replaced by a spiritual house that will never be destroyed. Paul promises when this happens, we will have a permanent home in eternity not made by man's hand, but by our Heavenly Father. Do not be afraid - for Christ has silenced death.
What a great statement to reaffirm on Easter as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord!