There is in all of us a very human fascination with perfection. In a world marked with brokenness and failure, there is something immensely compelling about the idea of a perfect performance. Because it is so quantifiable, the field of sports has many examples of these things. In baseball, there is the perfect game. In bowling there is a perfect score of 300. In golf, there is the hole-in-one. There is a score of 1600 on the SAT or graduating from college with a 4.0 GPA. All of these have the illusion of perfection about them, something about them that temporarily fills our longing for a return to that long-ago time before the Fall when the shame of failure did not weigh us down.
I have presented relatively positive examples of perfect performances, but there is in history a performance that, while dark and ominous, nonetheless represented thousands of years of perfection. I am speaking of the perfect performance of death. Beginning with the death of Abel at the hands of his brother Cain and lasting from there for thousands of years, there had been no failure of death to keep its every victim. While life may last long, the end was always and inevitably the same, and once death’s icy grip had closed upon the soul, no one escaped. There was not a single exception, not even a small chink in death’s armor. There was not the slightest blemish of death’s perfect record. Everyone, EVERYONE who went to the grave stayed there, and the power of the grave left death undefeated.
But then was incarnate the eternal Son of God, who declared that He had the power to lay His life down and He had the power to take it up again. Here was the humble God-Man, the one who came not to be served, but to serve, who claimed that on the third day after His crucifixion He would rise from the dead. Here was Jesus who came to destroy the works of the devil. God the Son had put on human flesh and willingly died to render powerless him who had the power of death.
And so on the third day, the empty tomb revealed that in the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ death had been forever defeated. Not only was death’s perfect record ruined, but death was rendered impotent. When Christ the Champion rose victorious from the grave, the threat of death was removed for all those who would embrace Christ. From perfect record and source of immense dread to instant impotence, death’s descent from perfect performance had been affected by one glorious resurrection.
Also realize that in Jesus Christ there is an answer to our longing for perfection, for Jesus is the perfect Man, the one who never sinned and the one who cannot be defeated. All authority has been given to Him and in Him all things hold together. He is our perfect Champion. Amen.
SDG rmb 2/27/2018