“Oh, Death Where is Your Sting?”

The Reformation theologian John Trapp sums up Paul’s words here:

This is the sharpest and shrillest note, the boldest and bravest challenge that a human being ever rang in the ears of death. . . . Death is here out-braved, called craven to its face and bidden, “Do your worst!”


from: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/will-sneer-death/

Resurrection Healing

“I know a woman with some chronic illness who, occasionally you ask her: ‘How are you feeling,’ ‘Doesn’t it hurt,’ ‘Aren’t you in a lot of discomfort?’ And she says, ‘Nothing that the resurrection won’t cure.'” -Tim Keller, “How to Overcome Waves”

A Thought on Harmonizing the Easter Narratives

It is sometimes pointed out that the Easter narratives are very different on some strange points. They all unifiedly (new word!) testify that Jesus was bodily resurrection. But… why does Matthew only mention Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” going to the tomb, while Mark also adds that Salome was with them, but Luke omits Salome and adds Joanna, and John only mentions Mary Magdalene?

It is a bit unusual. But John also adds an interesting clue to suggest that even if he only wants to mention Mary M, she didn’t go to the tomb alone. After discovering the empty tomb, she panics, and goes to tell Peter and John what happened. She says, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:2)

We do not know where they have laid him.” We? ‘We’ who? I thought it was just Mary M. there that morning. “We” seems to be a subtle clue that Mary M. had not gone to the tomb by herself that morning. It also suggests that even if John wants to focus our attention specifically on Mary, it is not because it didn’t know other women went to.

If all that holds up, it probably should shape the way we read the Easter narratives. The omission of some details in the accounts may be more deliberate than we realize. It’s all part of the particular style that each Evangelist uses in telling the story of Jesus.

The Resurrection and Death

Lifted “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ (1 Cor. 15:55). Most of us hate or fear wasps and bees precisely because of their sting. But if I knew that, somehow, the sting of these creatures had been removed, would I really go into contortions every time one hovered nearby? A stingless wasp would be one we could swat away playfully. No threat at all.

Well, we now have only a stingless death ahead of us. This is not to trivialize the pain that might come with death, for us and for those we leave behind. But it is to recognize that it has been robbed of its greatest sting: sin. Death is not now the prelude to judgment and condemnation, but to a new perfected life. Christians can approach it differently. We have hope- living, breathing, growing hope.” -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pg. 101

The Resurrection and Self-Image

Lifted “For Christians, death is not the end, but a new beginning…One Christian lady in her mid-fifties told me recently that this is why she doesn’t bother to dye her hair. She said she doesn’t mind the process of ageing affecting her appearance. Her perspective has been shaped by resurrection hope. The best is not behind her; it is to come. The body I have and am– this body now– is not ultimate. Even at its peak it doesn’t come close to the body I will have. Grey hairs are therefore not a threat but a promise. The gradual slowing down of the body, the processes of physical ageing and decay that anticipate our final passing, these are not (to borrow a phrase) the beginning of the end, but just the end of the beginning. Better is to come–much better! Death is the transition to resurrection. We can therefore look it in the eye: it has lost its sting: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55) -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pp. 100-101.