Death has been swallowed up in victory

Reflecting further on the Christian view of death, I have come across this beautiful poem by D A Carson in his book For the Love of God:

They came alone:  some women who remembered him,

Bowed down with spices to anoint his corpse.

Through darkened streets, they wept their way to honor him–

The one whose death had shattered all their hopes.

“Why do you look for life among the sepulchers?

He is not here.  He’s risen, as he said.

Remember how he told you while in Galilee:

The Son of Man will die–and rise up from the dead.”

The two walked home, a study in defeat and loss,

Explaining to a stranger why the gloom–

How Jesus seemed to be the King before his cross,

How all their hopes lay buried in his tomb.

“How slow you are to see Christ’s glorious pilgrimage

Ran through the cross”–and then he broke the bread.

Their eyes were opened, and they grasped the Scripture’s truth:

The man who taught them had arisen from the dead.

He was a skeptic:  not for him that easy faith

That swaps the truth for sentimental sigh.

Unless he saw the nail marks in his hands himself,

And touched his side, he’d not believe the lie.

Then Jesus came, although the doors were shut and locked.

“Repent of doubt, and reach into my side;

Trace out the wounds that nails left in my broken hands.

And understand that I who speaks to you once died.”

Long years have passed, and still we face the fear of death,

Which steals our loved ones, leaving us undone,

And still confronts us, beckoning with icy breath,

The final terror when life’s course is run.

But this I know:  the Savior passed this way before,

His body clothed in immortality.

The sting’s been drawn:  the power of sin has been destroyed.

We sing:  Death has been swallowed up in victory.

-D.A. Carson

The first two verses of this poem are a meditation on part of Luke 24:1 – 8, 13 – 25.  The last two verses draw on other resurrection accounts (John 20:24 – 29; Heb. 2:14 – 15; 1 Cor. 15:50 – 58).  It may be sung to the Londonderry Air (“Danny Boy”).

For the Love of God is a daily devotional designed to walk a person through the Bible in a year while assisting the reader in discovering the riches of God’s Word. Originally published by Crossway Books (volume 1 in 1998 and volume 2 in 1999), it is now available in electronic form at thegospelcoalition.org as a free digital version of the devotional, provided by TGC and Crossway.

You might like to think about making a New Year’s resolution to use this as an aid to read through the Bible in 2012.

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