For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
The time is during the American Civil War. A man has lived his entire life in slavery under the rule of his master. Now, however, the man is free. He chooses to serve as a soldier in the Union Army. Months go by. One day, the man’s unit is near a camp that contains Confederate prisoners of war. Suddenly, he sees a familiar face. He sees the face of his former master. It is then that the man walks up to his former master and famously says, “Hello, master. Bottom rail on top this time.”
His point could not have been more clear. In their previous life together, one was the master, and the other was the slave. But that reality no longer existed. His old master was now a prisoner of war. His days of owning slaves were over. If anything, the former master now had to answer to his former slave.
Ever since our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into sin, death has ruled as a master in this world. It has ruled us with fear, grief, and dread. It has ruled us with the awful reality that one day, sooner or later, death comes for each of us. It comes for our grandparents. It comes for our parents, siblings, children, and friends. It comes for you and me.
But then Jesus came. And he changed everything. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect goodness. In our place, he carried our every sin to Calvary’s cross. As our substitute, he suffered and died to wash us clean. And three days later, he did something to make a point. Three days later, he walked away from death and raised himself back to life.
And because Jesus lives, death is no longer our master. Because Jesus lives, death now serves as a door to eternal life. Because Jesus lives, you and I can walk up to death and say, “Hello, Master. Bottom rail on top this time.”
Lord Jesus, because you live, death now must answer to you. Thank you. Amen.