On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
A Celebration of Victory
On June 19, 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower stood in the backseat of an open-top Chrysler convertible as it rolled down New York City’s famed Canyon of Heroes. When he waved to the crowd, a reported four million people waved back. It was one of the biggest ticker-tape parades in the city’s history, organized to recognize the famous general for his role in defeating the Germans in World War II. Big victories call for big celebrations.
The prophet Isaiah doesn’t speak of a ticker-tape parade in our Bible reading for today. But it’s a big celebration of a big victory, nevertheless. How can it not be considered a big victory when your most formidable enemy goes down in defeat? And after all the tears that it’s caused, after all the families that it’s torn apart, isn’t it awesome to see death finally lose?
And not only does death lose, it gets swallowed up forever. Once Jesus left the tomb alive on Easter morning, death was done—that is to say, its stranglehold was loosened, its undefeated streak finally and forever was broken. The grave may receive our bodies, but it does not get to keep them. Once our greatest enemy, death is now merely the gateway to victorious and eternal life for all who trust in Jesus as their Savior.
Death is still a reality. But Jesus is bigger than death. He has swallowed up its power forever. And that is reason to celebrate!
Jesus, risen Savior, I lift up your name in unending praise and celebration because you destroyed death’s power over me and have opened the gate to eternal life. As I struggle on this side of heaven, comfort me, strengthen me, and cheer me through the tastes of the heavenly banquet that you give me today. Amen.