We’re all tired of it. The senseless killing and violence. Cancer and heart disease. Sin and its slimy tentacles that hold us in its death grip. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Jesus defeated sin and death when it constantly surrounds us and presses in on us. We can so easily lose sight of the fact that evil doesn’t have the last word. Jesus does.
Sometimes the darkness affects us more than others.
For me, that happened last week. The college students gunned down in Garissa, Kenya really shook me. Cowardly Al Shabaab terrorists snuffed out 147 young, promising lives and wounded 79 others. They started their killing spree at a Christian Union prayer meeting, executing anyone who couldn’t recite portions of the Koran, slaughtering female students who begged for mercy, letting parents listen to gunshots that took their child’s life over the phone. Two of the dead were leaders in the student-led Cru group at Garissa. That made it feel more personal to me.
What if this massacre happened here, at the small campus where I work? What if terrorists stormed into our weekly student-led Cru meeting? What if they murdered student leaders who I know and care about?
This Easter, Christ-followers in Kenya struggled with ambivalence. They deeply mourned the loss of their nation’s young while rejoicing in, even clinging to, the hope of the resurrection.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
Because Jesus rose, those young people who believed in Him are more alive right now than they’ve ever been.
Because Jesus rose, we have the confidence that the sin and evil and death that we experience now are only temporary.
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)
In an address on Good Friday, the Anglican Archbishop of Kenya said: “We are reminded that the very worst evil can do is not the last word. … Jesus’ death upon the cross was not in vain. By his death, death has been destroyed. The stone rolled away and the empty tomb of Jesus assures us that death does not have the last word.”
Because He rose, Jesus has the final word.