Please read today’s passage, 1 Corinthians 15:54-58. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God!He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Here are a few thoughts concerning the passage assigned for today, and the sermon text yesterday, Matthew 9:18-26, I would love to read yours.
It comes as no surprise that the passage from Corinthians is one of the most frequently read texts at Christian funerals. It brings great comfort to the grieving heart of a believer to know that Jesus, through His suffering, death and resurrection, has won the victory over death. Through His selfless sacrifice, He promises to cloth us in garments that are imperishable and immortal. Hard as death might be, its sting is gone. Death does not have the last word because of Jesus. There is hope; death brings life beyond life.
When Jesus lived, the Jewish people had many rules to guard against becoming defiled or unclean. Two things to avoid if you wanted to remain ‘pure’ were dead bodies and women with internal bleeding. In the Matthew text, we see Jesus violate both prohibitions. But with Jesus things are different. When the cloak of Jesus touches the women and when Jesus takes the hand of the little girl, rather than becoming ‘unclean’, healing and life happen.
In his commentary on this passage, N.T. Wright suggests that in His ministry, “Jesus was beginning His whole work of rescuing the world, saving the world, from everything that polluted, defaced and destroyed it. And those who would benefit would be those who would believe.” It is a tremendous motivation to remain close to Jesus. Like the ruler, the women, the blind men and the mute, seeing the power of Jesus increases our faith and grants us the certain knowledge that with Jesus all things are possible. Life beyond the grave is assured.
Lord, help me to live closely to you. Help me to see your healing ministry as a way of authenticating of your magnificent gift of salvation.