Friday, April 05, 2013

Short devotion: Death Working Backwards - Acts 2:24

Acts 2:24         But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

In the beautiful days when my two daughters were children, I used to read to them at night time from different books. Their favorites were the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. From an early age, they learned of the wonderful tales about the Pevensey children and the giant lion Aslan. They fell in love with the faun Mr. Tumnus and marveled at the courage of Mr.  & Mrs. Beaver. The stories captivated their hearts and spurred on their imagination. Even today, as Masters Graduates and professional adults, they still love those stories and talk about them from time to time. I hope that one day they get the opportunity to share those stories with their own children.

In the book, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,’ the great heroic lion Aslan is slain by the forces of evil. The children in the book are distraught when this occurs, and all of their hopes are dashed to pieces. It appears as though the White Queen is going to overcome the whole land of Narnia and keep it in winter forever, when a new dawn breaks and Aslan is brought back to life. CS Lewis later explains this as ‘death working backwards,’ when the lion’s heroic and courageous sacrifice overcomes death itself. It’s a remarkable moment in the book. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the absolute wonder and delight on the faces of my own daughters when I read this part of the story to them for the very first time.

When Peter preaches to the gathered crowd on the streets of Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, he tells them that Christ, who was crucified by the very same people, had risen from the agony of death by God, and that death itself could not hold on to Christ. Death was working backwards and Jesus was made alive again through the infinite power of God. It was an amazing moment in the history of all Creation and one which has captivated the hearts, minds, and souls of billions of people on Earth for almost two thousand years.

We all face a time of death in each of our lives. We cannot stop the clock from moving forward, nor can we hold back the years. However, with our faith in Jesus, we can experience the split-second after we die the wonderful blessing of death working backwards and being raised into the glorious, never-ending Kingdom of our Creator God. It is a delightful mystery to ponder and, at the same time, a magnificent gift to gratefully await.

Questions for personal reflection

What will death mean to me? Am I ready to place all of my faith in Christ’s ability to resurrect me into God’s Kingdom?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You are the Holy One of God who has been raised from death. You have conquered sin, evil, and death by Your perfect sacrifice. We are honored by Your work and blessed eternally through Your Grace. Thank You, Lord, for bringing this wonderful heavenly gift to our earthly lives. In Your Holy Name, we gratefully pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or ask a question, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s Narnian drawings. It’s called “Enter Lucy,” and shows the lamp-post where young Lucy and Mr. Tumnus meet for the first time in Narnia. If you would like to see a larger version, please click on the following link:

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