January 06, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
A Unique Death
“… with the rich in His death.”
What would you estimate as the number of people who have lived on planet earth? Since there are now over six billion, the number must be staggering. Yet with the exception of two men (Enoch and Elijah), death has been the common lot of all. It has arrived in many different forms and venues: from the battlefield to the hospital bed; at sea and on land; on beds at home and in nursing homes. It respects no one and comes with equal callous indifference to all.
But there is one death that was entirely different; it was a unique death. It was His death – His own, unique and distinct, different from all others.
For us, death is a defeat. Humanity faces death with, at best, resignation and submission; most, however, fight against it and avoid. We succumb to death. But for Him, it was something He ‘accomplished’. They “spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:31). We begin the process of death at the moment we are born. He was never a dying man. He died! He accomplished His departure.
For us, death ends our work on earth. For some, it seals what they have done. For others, death interrupts their life’s ambition, and work is left unfinished. And for others still, death mocks their boastful vain lives. But for Him, “to this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world.” (John 18:37). Death did not mock His life or interrupt His purpose in life. It was in His unique death that He accomplished the greatest work ever to be done upon earth. It was in His death and by His death that He established every purpose of God for His entire universe for all eternity, and secured it all by His blood.
When we die, we are “sown in weakness.” Death is the ultimate expression of our weakness and helplessness. His death was accomplished in power. Men crucified Him in apparent weakness (2 Cor. 13:4), but in reality it was the greatest display of power ever seen on earth: He had self-control and power over His own life which the wise man told us no one had power over (Eccl 8:9). He dismissed His Spirit; He breathed out; He gave up voluntarily His life. Here was a power which was stronger than the grave. In His death He conquered death.
His power was so great in His death that He had total control over His own omnipotence: a strength that could control omnipotence! Taunted, jeered, baited, blasphemed, and abused – all could have been reversed by a word from His lips or a breath from His mouth. Yet He was in control of all.
His death was uniquely His own.
1. Look over Isaiah 53 and underline the word ‘His’as it occurs in the text.
2. Can you think of other ways in which His death was unique from every other death which has ever occurred?
3. Compare the four Gospels and the words used for the Lord Jesus giving up His Spirit and notice the differences.