Summary: Contrary to the saying, "The only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes"......
Death and Taxes
ILLUS: If you go back to 1700 and all the way up through to the year 2100, a day like today will
only happen 12 times. Oh, I’m not talking about Easter. What is unusual about today is that
Easter and “Tax Day” fall on the same day. On the same day we celebrate the Risen Savior, we
have to “render unto Caesar.....”.
You’ve probably heard the saying - “The only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes.” I’m
not so sure that statement is absolutely true, though. I’m guessing that with enough deductions,
loopholes, and a “creative” accountant, you can avoid paying most, if not all, of your taxes. So,
there’s no guarantee there. That leaves us with death to deal with. When we’re done here today, I
think you’ll agree that death is not guaranteed, either.
ILLUS: Four friends were talking about death. One of them asked the other three, "When you are
in your casket and people are mourning you, what would you like to hear them say about you?"
The first man said, "I’d like to hear them say that I was a fine physician in my time and a great
family man." The second fellow said, "I’d like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and a
school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow." The third man replied,
"I’d like to hear them say, ’Look, he’s moving!’"
You know, I think most of us can relate to that last fellow, but I can think of something far
better I’d like someone to say if I were lying in a casket. I’d like to hear the words that Jesus
spoke to Martha after her brother Lazarus had died. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will
never die." Friends, the resurrection, death being defeated, is at the heart of Christianity. We
Christians absolutely believe that our faith makes a difference in this life. I think the best thing
about Christianity is the hope it gives that physical death will not be the end, but thanks to Jesus
we can and will experience eternal life. I’m thankful that when I do a funeral service for a person
who believed, I can say to the grieving family, "Death has not won. Death was defeated on the
cross and this is just the beginning of life eternal for this person in heaven.
ILLUS: A three-year-old girl, Nicole, was as anxious for Easter to come as she had been for
Christmas to arrive. One day as Nicole and her father stopped at a store to buy her a new pair of
shoes…she once again said, "I can’t wait for Easter Daddy!" Her dad asked, "Do you know what
Easter means, honey?" She replied, "Yes." "Well, what does Easter mean?" In her own sweet
three-year-old way, with arms raised, a smile on her face, and at the top of her voice she said,
What better word could sum up the meaning of Easter! Surprise, death! Surprise, sin! Surprise,
mourning disciples! Surprise, modern-day people! Surprise, powers of evil! Christ is risen! He’s
Death has been defeated. Q: What is the date of death’s birth? A: The moment Adam & Eve
sinned. Scripture tells us: “...by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin.”.
And today we celebrate the date of death’s demise. In Genesis we are told the nature of death’s
death as well. “he will crush your head.....” is what God tells the serpent.
ILLUS: A recent Easter morning B.C. comic shows a tomb. It’s night and the stone covers the
opening of the tomb. In the second frame you see light shining around the edges of the stone. In
the next frame you’re in Peter’s cave. There’s a rumble as the stone comes rolling through the
door of Peter’s cave only to crash with a loud "bang" which wakes up Peter.
Peter steps out of his cave and sees the tomb. A cross shaped star is shining overhead. You can
see the trail that the rolling stone left. Peter heads up to the tomb. When he gets there he sees
footprints in the dirt and begins to follow them. The sun is starting to rise. Peter follows the
footprints down the hill right up to a small lake. The sun is fully risen and the footprints go right
across the water. When Peter looks across the lake he sees a snake obviously mad and recovering
from some sort of trauma. The snake says, "Well, that was rude! . . .Some guy just stepped on my
Had the stone not been rolled away; had Jesus been left in the tomb to rot; had Jesus not risen