I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?” “O death, where 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.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (ESV)
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25:8 (ESV)
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 (ESV)
We shall be changed. Into what?
Jesus has brought us from death to life. This is why we celebrate Easter. We trust in Jesus, that He has put death to death and that we have the hope and the promise of eternal life with Him.
There are times in our lives when it’s easy to forget the Easter hope and we forget that we have been changed when we were baptized into Christ, and that we will be changed yet again when He transforms us and gives us bodies that will never die. Either we get distracted by the cares and sorrows of this world, or we get preoccupied with the all the things we think are important (much as Jesus’ friend Martha did) and we miss the one thing – the One Who should be primary above all.
The implication to believing God’s promise of eternal life and transformation that were given to the prophet Isaiah, and again to the apostles Paul and John, and that Jesus Himself also promised, is that we have nothing to hold back, nothing to fear, nothing to put in a higher priority than God. We belong to Him. He cares for us and provides for us in this life as well as the next.
Both Isaiah and John remind us that God will take away our shame and mourning, and will dry our tears. This is a wonderful encouragement for all of us, because we are all held captive to our own sin, shame and sorrow. We have been changed, and we will be changed. Not because we earn it, not because we deserve it, but because Jesus gave His life so that we may be a part of His resurrection and His life.
The sting of death has been taken away. There is nothing to fear. There is nothing holding us back from the life that Jesus has already won for us.
Lord, help us to keep our eyes on You and to know that You will wipe away our tears and take away our sin and sorrow. Forgive us when we forget that we belong to You and that through You we are forever changed.