Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Frightening Conquerer

Who is the most formidable opponent? It is he who possesses the ability to turn your best weapons and abilities against you. Imagine going into a fight with someone who not only tests your weaknesses but uses the greatest arsenal in your kit to crush you.

How frightening. 

For all of mankind, there is a powerful weapon aimed at the core of its existence: death. The inevitable power of death looms over us and eventually takes over no matter how strongly, deftly we fight against it. For man, death is such a frightening conquerer. Its means? Violence. 

Whether it's death through war and tragedy or old age or illness, violence causes breakdown which leads to death. Whether it's a bullet or a tidal wave or cellular/DNA degeneration, violence rampantly brings down the human race toward death.

Are you frightened? 

But, is there one who takes the best weapon of death - violence - and crushes that insurmountable enemy? Yes. And he is the true frightening conquerer. 

Jesus Christ came to conquer. His aim was to defeat death and its violence. How did he accomplish this? With greater violence? Did he kill death with brute force as death would do? 

Jesus's weapon was love. Love that lays one's own life down to serve another. Such love - preserving another at one's own expense - is antithetical to violence which serves the self at the cost and destruction of the other. Jesus let violence upon himself knowing that the love with which 1) he himself laid down his life for his beloved and 2) the Father has for those who are faithful will shatter and demolish death and its power. Love came down and conquered death.

God, who is love, has shown us that he is the true frightening conquerer. 

If God could conquer death in such a frightening way, using its utmost power of violence against itself, then there is a hope for us who are struggling today. 

We know that death is a wage of sin. No sin, no death. Yet, the crippling reality for many of us is that this sin is rampant in our lives, and it despairs us of the resulting brokenness and creates haunting doubt of whether we will get to the destination we hope for. 

If this is you, there is good news for you.

For if God is the frightening conquerer and he has given us son, then we know that our worst sins will be turned into the greatest weapon of his redemption. Our struggle with sin in the past, present, and future will all be worked together for good in the redemptive power of love that resides in Jesus Christ. When we are burdened with our sins that enslave us, we can look beyond the immediate oppression to the one who oppresses sin. Jesus will surely return, and he will crush our enemy with the might of his steadfast love. 

One day, our frightening conquerer will descend on the clouds. On that day, all of our tears will be wiped from our eyes and we will exult in the shadow of our Redeemer. Look to that day today, for if your trust is in Jesus Christ, it is surely yours. 

O Lord, come! 

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