I know a bunch of you were hoopin’ and hollerin’, partying it up, and lighting off fireworks for every score during the big game on Sunday. Due to those fireworks, I realized our live TV app had about a minute-long delay during the Super Bowl (It’s an interesting way to watch a game: *BOOM BOOM* … “Honey, I have a feeling we are going to get a touchdown on this next play.”) Following the Chiefs Super Bowl victory, it was fun to see everyone abuzz with celebratory posts on social media. Congratulations to Chiefs fans. It was a long-awaited victory that I know some of you wondered if it would ever come.
This past weekend and the one prior, I had the privilege of speaking to our Jr. High and Sr. High students at their respective retreats. During both weekends, the theme was “One Minute After You Die.” The opening verse used to introduce the theme was Ecclesiastes 7:2, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” At first glance, this appears to be one of the more confusing verses in Scripture. Surely, we would all want to be at a party rather than a funeral. Surely, we would all enjoy the company and atmosphere of a Super Bowl win, rather than the grief that accompanies a tragic death.
So, what could this verse mean? The clue is in the second half. It says that death is a certainty. It is everyone’s destiny. Though death is a curse and a consequence of sin (“The wages of sin is death…” Romans 3:23), it is an opportunity for the living to examine what life is all about. Someone’s death, as terrible and painful as it is, can help us evaluate life. It can be the thing that helps someone “wake-up” to some deeper realities about eternity, God, and their purpose in life.
Though death is the destiny of everyone, there is hope! When Jesus died on the cross, what looked like utter defeat and humiliation was ushering in the victory of all victories. Jesus defeated death by rising from the grave and through his selfless work, he provided the antidote for us all, that we too can be resurrected from the grave and enjoy being in His presence forever and ever. We look forward to the day when we will see an even greater celebration than a Super Bowl win. That day is when “the saying that is written will come true:
‘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. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57)
Amen and Amen. Teach us to number our days, Lord. Let us anticipate and eagerly await the second coming of our Savior, who was victorious over death. Thank you, Jesus, for the hope of everlasting life with you… for securing the victory over death. We look forward to the victory parade!