It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him….
What a profound truth! Sometimes I race past familiar scripture with the mindset depicted in a Geico commercial—Everybody knows that. Well did you know it’s easy to take well-known Bible passages for granted? To forget the Word of God is alive and active? That it continually has the power to penetrate our minds and bare our souls? (Hebrews 4:12) Sometimes we just have to stop and let the enduring words of truth soak in.
Especially during holy seasons, like Easter, when we celebrate the great truth that death could not hold down the author of life.
JRR Tolkien coined the word ‘eucatastrophe’ to describe the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with so much joy that it brings you to tears. He says the Resurrection was the greatest ‘eucatastrophe’ possible. The agony of Jesus on the cross…where he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, pierced, crushed, deprived of justice, punished by God for my sin, for yours…brought the most sadness the world has ever known. His crucifixion appeared to be the complete devastation of goodness, innocence and hope; the victory of evil, injustice and despair.
But death could not hold him down. And the sad news became the good news of the gospel. His resurrection produced, as Tolkien would say, the deepest intermingling of joy and sorrow, of catastrophe turning into euphoria. A universal sigh of relief must have encompassed all of heaven when He stepped out of that grave. Life did not and could not remain dead. It was impossible.
That impossibility changes everything. It lays the foundation for hope. No matter how ugly the world becomes, it assures us in the end all that is good and beautiful and holy will win. Death could not hold him down. And because of him, it cannot hold us down either.
I pray you don’t let that truth slip past just because it’s familiar. Pause and get drenched in its freedom once again. You might just experience a real ‘eucatastrophe.’