Summary: A brief Easter sermon, appropriate for Sunrise Service, that deals with the fear of death and the resurrection hope of Jesus.
Lanier Christian Church
April 8, 2012
He Destroyed Death!
Death. There is nothing pleasant in saying that word is it? There is no good in it. Just to say the word brings memories of heartache and pain and loss. Over the last year several in our church family have suffered the loss of loved ones, and some of our dearest members have succumbed to death.
Each time it hurts. It brings tears. It brings a heaviness to our hearts.
In less than a year I’ve been with four of our church members on the day that they died. You see it coming. You see life slipping away, but there is nothing you can do about it. And then it happens, the last breath is taken and life on this earth is no more.
The younger the victim, the more sudden the event, the harder it is.
I am reminded at each death how helpless and humble I feel in the face of death. As much as I’d like to bring them back, I can’t.
Our son John learned a valuable lesson about death when he was a child. One day he took aim with his new BB gun at a little bird sitting on a limb near our back deck. He aimed and fired and hit his target and the bird collapsed to the ground. Dead. At first there was the excitement of being a good marksman, but then upon finding the bird, there was the shock of its results. I’ll never forget what John said: “Is he dead?” Yes…son. “Dad, bring him back.” Son, there’s nothing I can do.
Talking about a helpless moment! But at the same time, a teachable moment. So what did we do? The only thing a preacher knows to do. You have a funeral service and turn to the one who is our greatest help in our time of need. So we got a shoebox, dug a hole, had a little service and said a prayer.
You see…there is only one who has the answer to death. There is only one who has truly conquered death forever. There is only one who defeated death and gave us hope in our most difficult hour…and that’s our Savior Jesus!
That’s why Easter is such a glorious occasion! It is the celebration of Jesus’ defeat of our greatest enemy – death. Without Jesus, death is the end. Because of Jesus, death is merely a threshold, an entrance to a new life.
The cross tells us that Jesus understands death. He knows what an enemy it is. He knows how cruel it is. He knows how painful it is. He knows the fear associated with it. But, the resurrection tells us that Jesus has the answer to death. He offers life again – but this time freed of the pains of this life.
There is a great passage in the book of Hebrews that summarizes what Jesus did for us:
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
That’s it in a nutshell…Jesus knows what it is like. He cried at the death of his friend Lazarus, just before he brought him back to life.