He Will Swallow Up Death Forever: Kobe Bryant, The Holocaust, and Eternity.
Last week the United States was shocked as Kobe Bryant, his young daughter, and two others were killed in a freak accident.
People were shocked that someone so great would just be gone in an instant. It seems that the untimely death of a person with such incredible talent is a tragic waste, but let us not forget that all death is a waste.
The day after Kobe Bryant died was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. All death is a waste, no matter if it is in a nursing home, an act of terror, a star dying tragically, or millions exterminated simply for who they are.
Death is a waste, and it comes for all.
When a death as poignant as Kobe Bryant's ripples through the media and the talk of culture, we can forget how to live. We are all encouraged to hug each other tighter. Some are angry at the injustice, most scared at the implications of a death like that. But in the loudest voices speaking out in all forms of media to the masses, there is no solution to this blackness of death we all must grapple with. And the talk will die down, and we will go back to living like everything matters both too much and too little simultaneously, and death is perhaps a devastating surprise that we hope will not get too close.
This is the message we need to hear at times like this: "He will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast for all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever."
We need to hear that it is wise to be hurt and weep over the injustice of death. God is hurt by it more than we could ever be. (John 11:33-35)
We need to hear that we were not made for a life of dying. Our Abba Father made us for the garden: for shalom and beauty and abundant life. (Genesis 1:27-31)
We need to hear that our lives matter. ALL lives matter. We were ALL knit together with purpose, fearfully and wonderfully, in the womb. (Psalm 139:13-18)
And then, we will know how to live.
We are to live like we are dying for a purpose. Christ defeated death. He swallowed it up whole. The covering that is cast over all of us, the veil that is spread over all nations, was removed by Christ (Isaiah 25:7) . He took the pill of poison, and was not overcome so we will not have to be.
Our purpose in dying is a reverse effect: to complete the race that was set before us. And our purpose in living is the same reverse effect: to finish the race that was set before us.
Let us not live as if death has the final word. And just as wisely, let us not live as if it has no say. Death comes for all, and it is a waste. But Christ swallowed up the meaningless and tragedy of death and let it poison Himself instead of us.
Now, death is a finish line. A means to a glorious end (2 Corinthians 4:17). Death was swallowed up whole by Jesus, and we get to live for eternity, now, and fully after we are laid to rest. Laid down from this earth, raised up into eternity. And someday, this earth will be restored. The fullness of God's grace, the abundance of His Eden, will come to completion. And there will be no more tears.