READING: Isaiah 53-55, Psalm 128, 1 Corinthians 15
I will never forget the first funeral I officiated. I had actually never even attended a funeral, so I had to ask other pastors for help. Because the deceased was a believer, most of the pastors encouraged me to read 1 Corinthians 15:51-56 at the gravesite:
Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, death, is your victory?
Where, death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
I did use that text, though I admit I didn’t fully understand its importance as a 20-year old rookie pastor. Now almost 40 years and dozens of funerals later, I think I “get it” better. I still don’t comprehend how everything will supernaturally happen, but this I do know: death will not win. That truth makes all the difference in the world, especially in these days of global pandemic. Thanks be to God, indeed!
PRAYER: “Thank You, God, for victory over death.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 56-59, Psalm 70, 1 Corinthians 16