Do you know the day death died?
APRIL 7, 2023
Do you know the day death died? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown and this is Key Life. We are dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hey Matt.
Matt Heard: Hey Steve.
If you just joined us, Matt lives in Colorado and he comes here pretty often. He’s one of the voices of Key Life, and I’ve told you this, be sure and go to, the ministry that Matt has is called Thrive. And Thrive is thriving in amazing ways, and you can find out about that ministry by going to ThriveFullyAlive, ThriveFullyAlive.com. Just so, you ought know some things, about the guys who are the voices of Key Life and what is, what God is doing in some amazing ways through them. So, go to that website. If you’re just joining us, you’re late cause all week we’ve been taking a journey to the Cross. On Monday we talked about getting, and these are the last words, that Jesus spoke. These are the words that they’re going to remember until they die because Jesus and Jesus knows it. And so, this is an intimate as Matt has pointed out, an intimate kind of dinner conversation with people that he loved deeply. And he knows he’s going to die soon, and he knows this is important. So, he talks about getting close to him in John 15. On Tuesday, we talked about the Holy Spirit that he sent. On Wednesday, we talked about the high priestly prayer and his heartfelt cry. And if you were listening yesterday, we talked about Peter, oh Peter, what were you thinking? And then today on Good Friday, the Day Death died, let me read to you. In each of those is a chapter in John, and this is the 19th chapter. Let me read just to set it up and we’ll talk about it, this is the 17th verse.
So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of the Hill, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
Man, I’ll tell you, Charlemagne, when he first saw that said, if my armies had been there, that wouldn’t have happened. But most people when they get it, and I was speaking at a prison one time, and they had a bulletin with a picture on the front of it with a prisoner kneeling before the cross, and the caption said, my God, I did that? And you begin to sit in, this is powerful, you know, it is so God, just talking about the cross to unbelievers causes silence because it is so awesome, it’s so profound, and it’s so terrible. Well, let’s talk about it.
Matt Heard: Yeah. It’s a, it’s why today’s such a sobering day. And, at the same time, I don’t know, but I’m grateful we don’t have to imagine what today would be without Sunday.
Matt Heard: And so, we know that Sunday’s coming and we know the resurrection is coming, that actually validated who Jesus was and confirmed that he accomplished something way more than just becoming a religious martyr when he died on the cross.
Matt Heard: And so, there’s that, you read through this as you’re completing this journey and we’re so grateful you’ve journeyed with us and I want you to ignore Steve’s words, where he made you feel bad about joining us late. You can catch up, but today, spending some time each day, it’s been one chapter, these 15 through 19. So in John 19, just spending time and that passage that Steve just read, picturing Jesus on the Cross, it culminates that statement he made at the very end when he said it’s finished and I look at that, Steve, and where Jesus said, there’s an intentionality about the Cross. This was not some tragedy that had hijacked his ministry. You know, he had already said, nobody takes my life from me, I offer it up. We all die, there’s been no human being that came with the express purpose, he was going to die, he was the one that didn’t have to die. And he came, but not just to die as a martyr, it’s this whole notion. John Owen, that great Puritan preacher, he wrote a book. You don’t even need to read the book, you just know the title of it., The Death of Death and the Death of Christ. And it really is, what you said a moment ago. This was the day that death died. Jesus came that we might have life, not some improved, acute thing. He came to restore that, the Greek word is Zoe it’s the life of God. It’s not just biological living. It’s, it’s this life of God, this life of intimacy with God that we’re separated from. That’s why Paul talks about the fact we’re born dead in our trespasses and sins. We’re capable of great beauty, great love, great laughter, but we’re still dead. And Jesus came to bring us back to life, but what was necessary is what was happening today. He had to pay that penalty that otherwise was going to, it’s going to take you and me forever to pay.
And he was born to do that. You know, we sometimes forget that Jesus was a great teacher, but he didn’t teach anything new. I mean, the rabbis, and you can find references almost throughout the Old Testament of what he, he didn’t come to just do miracles, that was cool, but there are a lot of miracles in the Bible that in the Old Testament. So he, he was born to die. I mean, that’s what this is about. He was born to be the substitute.
The Lamb of God, that taketh of away the sins of the world.
And when he died, as you pointed out, he said, it’s finished, I mean, it’s settled. It’s settled forever, it’s chiseled in concrete, it’s the anchor, it’s finished. So, every time you think that you’ve gone too far, every time you think that you’ve sinned so deeply that God can’t use you, every time say. No, it’s finished, it’s settled.
Matt Heard: Mm. I love that I, this notion of knowing that we’re loved, you know, Paul talks about, you want to know what the love of God looks like? God’s demonstrated it. And that he gave his only Son to die for us. But not just to prove, okay, I love you so much. I’ll give my life, take the bullet. He was accomplishing something, he was paying a penalty on our behalf in order that we could get back our access to that Tree of Life. You know, something that just strikes me as tragically fascinating is how little we talk about the Tree of Life. You know, it’s at the beginning of Genesis and we’re exiled because we said, God, we don’t need you to be normal and fulfilled. And as a result, we’re banished from the Tree of Life. And you know, in that prayer on Wednesday we looked at in John 17.
This is eternal life that they may know you.
And so, what we’re banished from in the garden is that access to the Father, that ability to relate intimately and experiences Zoe. But where we’re headed, you see the Tree of Life in Genesis 22, when we all have access again. But Jesus came to say, I want to begin to restore that. Now, universally it’s not happened. I mean, cosmically, we’re coming to a new Heaven and a new Earth. We’re not there yet. But the beauty of embracing the death of Jesus right now is me being able, ironically, and beautifully to enter in to the life of God because Jesus died for me, paid a penalty I don’t have to pay any longer. And I can know that I’m loved, I can know that I’m forgiven, I can know that I’ve been made righteous, that he’s got a smile on me.
And that he’s pleased with you because of, and that’s finished and settled.
Matt Heard: Absolutely.
I mean, you can’t add to it or take from it, it just is. So, go out and play with the other children. Now, this is Good Friday, and that’s probably not a good statement to make on such a somber occasion, but think about the cross and think about it deeply, that it frees you up.
Matt Heard: Hmm. Yeah. I Timothy, Paul’s writing to his younger buddy Timothy, and he’s laying the groundwork and he gets to the beginning of the his second Epistle and he says this.
Grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it’s now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
It is the day that death died.
Yeah. It really is.
Matt Heard: Not just the physical death, but that spiritual death and that exile from the Father where we don’t have the privilege of intimacy. He said, that’s no longer the land where you need to live.
Matt Heard: Come into the living room and be his friend, be his child, be his son, be his daughter.
Matt, I’ve loved having you here this week, what a great week we’ve had, it’s really been fun. By the way, I don’t know if you saw the Passion of the Christ. I’ve only seen it once, I don’t want to see it anymore. Man, that blew me away. But what happened on the cross is more than you saw on the screen. It was a cosmic battle going on of incredible universal importance. Good Friday causes us to remember that something changed in the Universe, something so big and so awesome that you might run to a living Christ and in him find forgiveness and love that’ll last a lifetime. We all have hope, don’t we? My closest friend in this life was my brother Ron. He was the district attorney, district attorney. I’m sorry, it’s the microphone. And he would probably be the governor of North Carolina if he had lived, but he died in his forties. When he died, a part of me died. In fact, I still miss him. My brother Ron had a friend, his name was Bill Anderson. And I don’t know if Bill was a Christian, but he had hope and it was manifested in a funny way. Bill went to Carolina and my brother attended Wake Forest, and each year after my father died, when Carolina plays Wake Forest, Bill Anderson sits down in his easy chair, turns on the television, then he puts my brother’s picture on the table beside the easy chair, gets out two beers and he puts one in front of my brother’s picture. Easter, is a time when we remember. I went to the graveyard after my brother’s death and it was raining and I couldn’t even find the grave. As I stood there and cried. I heard a voice. And the voice said, why are you seeking the living among the dead? Happy Easter. He has risen indeed.