1 Corinthians 15:25-26, For [Christ] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Death is Christ’s last enemy. Yet for many of us, death is often the first enemy. Whether the first or second enemy we face, death is the most persistent in our lives. Turn on the news, and you hear of a new tragedy: parents schemed together to kill their child, a mother goes insane and kills all her children and her husband, there is yet another massive shooting, quaking the community for years to come, and so on. Death is all around us.
Yet we seek out various gurus—both modern and ancient—in the attempt to mitigate death. Death is all too real for us, for it is the summation of our existence. Even Plato recognised this: “Life is a preparation for, and meditation upon, death.” As Platonists ourselves, we similarly say things like, “We are born to die.” “Life is just preparing to die.” Yet we attempt to escape it. “Do more yoga and exercise more and you’ll live longer,” we say. Yet in the end, death catches up to us. “Become a vegan and you’ll live longer.” Yet death catches up with us. “Use essential oils,” yet death catches up with us. “Get plastic surgery done to look younger,” yet you still grow old and death catches up with you.
Death reminds us of the uncomfortable reality that we all have an end—that our end is non-existence. We try to ignore it, and we try to delay it. Yet it will come. Jesus tells us it will. Jesus Himself did not avoid suffering and death, and He does not promise us death’s avoidance. Right before His death march, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Not too long after this, Jesus marched into the jaws of death, and He told us not to be afraid!
Why does He say such a thing? Because the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit resurrected Jesus from the dead. He rises with His bruised heel crushing the serpent’s head. Death, which extinguishes, now becomes extinguished via Jesus’ power and authority over death. The negator becomes negated. Death is still vicious against us today, but from now on it is a toothless lion. Death shall devour the Christian, but Christ removes us from its death grip and brings us into eternal life.