1 Corinthians 15:50-58
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, 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 imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
The Realm of Faith
Today, on this day, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also celebrate our own resurrection. We do believe that death is not the end of our life journey. We believe that there is resurrection after death. The resurrection is not in the realm of knowledge. The resurrection is in the realm of faith, so I don’t reject everything that I don’t understand. There are a lot of things that I don’t understand in life, but I don’t reject everything that I don’t understand. I believe that there is such a thing as mystery.Mystery is a reality beyond your understanding. It is a reality beyond what you can comprehend with your limited knowledge. I do believe that there is such a thing as mystery and the resurrection is in the realm of mystery, so it is not in the realm of knowledge, it is in the realm of faith.
St Paul also said that the resurrection was a mystery. He said this: “I’ll tell you a mystery. We will not all die, but we will all be changed”. It was a mystery to Paul. He could not explain how resurrection happens. There’s no explanation of how, but that is what he realized. It is in mystery, but he firmly believed that that death was not the final destination. The people who did not like Jesus killed him thinking that death will end everything. The best weapon they had was death, so they believed that if they brought death to Jesus, then everything will be over– end of it. But Jesus’s death was only the beginning of the whole movement. It was not the end of it. The whole movement of Jesus actually began from the moment Jesus died. So Jesus’ death was only the beginning, not the end. Yes, Jesus helplessly died. At least that was what people thought. On the surface, he just died helplessly. But if you only see that picture, you only see half truth. On the surface, on the outside, he died helplessly, but deep inside of Jesus, there was a powerful thing going on. There was conviction within Jesus’ heart and Jesus’ mind. On the surface he looked like a helpless victim, but deep inside there was tremendous conviction within Jesus. That’s the key.
Release of God’s Power
Jesus died totally entrusting himself in God’s hands. He didn’t just die, He died believing that God will ultimately bring victory. That was Jesus’ faith: God will ultimately bring victory. He knew that he himself was helpless, but God was not helpless. Through His helpless death, as He believed, God’s power was released. God’s power, true power was released when Jesus died, the kind of death that Jesus had, that death released God’s power.
So Jesus’ death released the life of God. Jesus died with faith in the power of God’s life. He did not just die, but his death was with conviction. The conviction that the life God had brought to this world will never be destroyed. Life is more powerful than the power of death. And Paul saw that in Jesus’ death, he said, death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, Oh, death is your victory? Where Oh, death is your sting, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus’ ministry was very unique. His ministry was ultimately victory over death. Nothing else. His ministry was not just helping people. Jesus’ Ministry was not just building the church. Jesus’ Ministry was ultimately having victory over death. Nothing in the world can claim victory over death. In that way, Jesus’ ministry was very, very unique. That’s what he wanted to do. Claim victory over death. Even the most powerful power does not have power over death. It will kneel before death in submission. Ultimately, the most powerful power in the world cannot overcome death, but Jesus’ death released the power of life and that life was stronger than death.
That’s why He did it through the cross. There’s no other reason that He did it through the cross because there is no other way to do it without the cross. He didn’t use any power of the world. He didn’t use money. He didn’t use power. He didn’t use fame. He didn’t use popularity. He didn’t use any of that. He only used the cross. All other people expected that Jesus, maybe he will use power in the world. He could do that. He had power to do a miracle. He did had a lot of power, but he didn’t use any of his power, he chose to cross. Why? Only power that can overcome death is the cross, not any power in the world. That’s what I believe. Life is more powerful than death. Love is more powerful than hatred. Faith is more powerful than doubt. Hope is more powerful than despair.
Choose Life Over Death
What is more powerful? Think about it. I do believe that life is more powerful than death. We’ll always have to believe that life is more powerful than death. Love is more powerful than doubt. Hope is more powerful than despair. Faith is more powerful than doubt. So whenever you come across the decision, hope or despair, which one are you going to choose? Love or hatred? Which one are you going to choose? Which one is more powerful? I believe that life, love, faith, hope these things are more powerful. I will always choose these things. These things look weak in the world. People don’t think that these, these are powerful. ‘Love- how come it is powerful?’ They will wonder, but I do believe that these are the ones that release life. That’s why Jesus chose these things and the cross means all of that. The cross is to die with a conviction that life is more powerful than death. St Paul said, therefore that’s the conclusion of the resurrection. “Therefore my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” What you do with love, faith and hope will not be in vain. They will bring the power of life to your life.
Power of this world is not powerful enough. Victory over death. It looks like it is powerful, but it’s not powerful enough to bring life over death. If you follow the power of this world, ultimately you end up with weak power which cannot claim victory over death, but if you take the cross, the cross will bring the true power of resurrection. I would like to quote Jesus’ word lastly. Think about this is lifestyle that Jesus taught us. “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour” (John 12: 24-26). That is the cross and in that cross there is hidden the secret power of life. Happy Easter. And on this day, always think about choose life over death, choose love over hate, choose faith over doubt. Choose hope over despair; ultimately God will bring about true resurrection in your life.