A dear friend recently contacted me about the death of his mother-in-law. There is no way to make such loss easy, nor would I try to do so. Death is real and raw. Nonetheless, part of my response to him was: “She will be in a wonderful Place on Easter!” I believe that because I believe Jesus. He said: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all others unto Myself.” (John 12:32)
We have all been shaken to our core yet again by the tragic and indefensible murders in Brussels. It was not the work of people of faith. It was the work of people who oppose faith and all that it stands for. It was the picture of pure evil. The victims were innocent. They were men, women, and children who did nothing to harm anyone. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and lost their lives to the mindless sin of wicked people. And yet, the Easter Message speaks to them and about them: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all others unto Myself.”
On Easter morning when the women arrived at the tomb, they found it empty. Death did not have the final word, as they feared it had. Instead, God had (and will always have) that word. And the word God proclaimed via the Resurrection was“Victory.” The word was “Hope.” The word was “Righteousness.” The word was “Life.” No matter how things may look in any given moment, Easter means that God turns tragedy into triumph. The world does the worst it can, and suddenly that pales in comparison to what God does in response.
And so, I spoke in complete sincerity to my friend. I am convinced that his mother-in-law did celebrate Easter in a wonderful Place. So did the victims from Brussels. Because of Jesus, death did not conquer them. Instead, He conquered death for them. I read a quote last week that said: “Jesus brought death to death and life to life.” Amen! Jesus won a victory for all believers that no one can take away. Detractors and enemies will come and go (the key word being “go”). In time they will go, joining the silent company of all the forces of darkness that preceded them. But Jesus, “the Light of the world” (John 8:12), will remain. And with Him remains the Easter Good News that death has been defeated, and those we loved and lost are not “lost” at all. Instead, they are alive... in a better Place... and theirs is forever the victory!