God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. (Acts 2:24 NIV)
Its estimated that more than a billion people around the world watch the Oscars.
Its an evening filled with: Laughter, music, dance, creativity, surprises, tears, and a few dodgy speeches.
People just seem to like the joy of living in a world of make-believe for a few hours. But, just about the time everyone is getting into that make-believe world, we become aware of a disturbing reality.
In the middle of the presentation there is a slide show of all the great actors and actresses and film people who had died during the last year. We knew it was just a matter of time for the older ones, but the death of the younger ones causes grief because it seemed so untimely. This was particularly true this year following the suicide of the comic actor Robin Williams.
Watching this sad reflection of those who had recently passed away made me realise how deeply I love life and how deeply I hate death.
But simply hating death cannot eliminate its power over us, and so each and every day death threatens not only our own lives, but the lives of our families, friends and neighbours.
Its said that there are only two things in life that are certain: Taxes and death. It seems many have been trying their best to avoid (or is it evade?) paying tax, so perhaps we should adjust the saying: The one thing in life that is certain is death.
No-one can escape it.
It looms large over all of us like a spectre at the feast.
But all is not doom and gloom; au contraire, there is very good news indeed.
Jesus wasnt delivered from the agony of death, but he was delivered from a grave that couldnt hold him. His resurrection on the Third Day means that our fear of death can be eliminated because death is not the end.
Along with the Apostle Paul we can say, Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55,57)
Because Jesus has been raised from the dead death is a defeated enemy.
Because Jesus conquered the grave so can we.
Because death no longer holds him it will not hold us.
This is such good news we need to tell others about it. No wonder the angel at the tomb told the women go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead (Matthew 28:7) and filled with joy, [they] ran to tell his disciples. (V8)
Are we filled with joy because Jesus lives, and because he lives so can we?
Does it make us want to run and tell others the good news?
Because he lives I can face tomorrow because I know death is not the end.
Father, the resurrection of Jesus was the biggest turning-point in history and in our personal lives. Hallelujah! Fill our hearts with joy and with the desire to make this truth known to others.
Have a good week trusting in the resurrection of Jesus.