Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke ;  why swell’st thou then ?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more ;  Death, thou shalt die.
 
Holy Sonnets X
John Donne
 

One day, death shall slip away into the sunset.

One day, death shall die.  

This week certainly holds a paradox.  Tomorrow night, the Church throughout the world will remember the night when Jesus was betrayed.  The Church will remember the Last Supper and subsequent betrayal.  This feast that Jesus took part in would have been rooted in the Passover narrative.  His disciples heard the story for years when God acted to bring his people out of bondage in Egypt.  He brought them out, guiding them with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.  He led them and protected them even when they wanted to rebel.  Even when they wanted to go back to the land of chains.Last Supper Wide

There was a new chapter being written in this book of redemption though.  There was another meal being used to reinterpret the story of Egypt.  There was another feast meant to point his friends towards another act of redemption.  God had indeed come down to lead his people, this time it would be to defang death and to offer life to the community of the redeemed.  

One day death will die, but that promise only comes through one man’s death.  While sin and death came through Adam’s disobedience a long time ago, this “new Adam” (as one New Testament writer puts it) would bring in new life through an act of obedience.  While Adam’s act of eating something (a natural part of life) brought on death, Jesus’ crucifixion would clear a pathway for life.  This paradox makes my head spin sometimes, but you know what?  We don’t have to fully understand this to be a part of the community of the redeemed.  

Death shall die, my friends.  For those who are in Christ, the sting of death has been removed.  I hope you join this family, all you need to do is trust in the words of Christ and believe that God raised him from the dead.  Through one man’s death, all men and women are offered life.  

Aren’t you grateful for that paradox?