One thing that is undeniably certain in life is death. It is the ultimate equalizer. Whether you are rich or poor or black or white, we all die and none of us have any say when it will happen. These are not the most pleasant things to think about for most people, but we must think about them in order to find true freedom from them.
Since the dawn of time and into the modern era, it can be argued that the fear of death has been the single most powerful motivator behind everything we do and how we live our lives. Our entire life timeline is planned around the knowledge that we too will die some day, and we assume that day is late in our years and as a result plan backwards - hoping that our plans align with reality.
People today chase immortality through biohacking and life extension protocols, and they chased immortality since Adam and Eve. There are stories of royalty bathing in the blood of virgins (sorry) just to invigorate their own bodies, and there are countless examples throughout history of blood sacrifices in order to appease the divine so that life and prosperity could be extended.
Death had ultimate power over mankind, and until Jesus of Nazareth it was what most of mankind feared above all else.
In this way, by using the power of death, Satan was able to pull off what he always wanted: worship. It has always been about worship and obedience, and because the devil envied God and wanted to be God - he fooled mankind into betraying God so that God would be forced to pass judgment and bring death into the world.
But the devil isn't all-knowing nor all-powerful, and God is a master of using even the worst things for the good - so our little story took an unexpected and surprising turn.
God Himself, the Creator of heaven and Earth, would take on human form and die an unjust death so that man could be spared the judgment which would be passed on to the devil and his followers for their rebellion.
The resurrection, which is unique to Christ, proved that not only He was who He said He was, it alchemically transformed the greatest source of fear into the greatest source of freedom. Just when the devil thought he had won the game by forcing God's hand, God proved that He is sovereign in the most profound way possible.
Fear is not a bad thing. If God knit you in your mother's womb, do you think He made any mistakes? The answer is no. It is just that the things He designed are being misplaced and misused. We were made to have an exclusive and personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Part of that relationship is having emotions, like joy, gratitude, love, excitement - and even fear, guilt and shame.
It is not wrong to experience negative emotions. If you are not afraid of the police then you will do some very dangerous things. If you don't feel guilty after stealing then your heart has some serious problems. If you aren't ashamed after hurting someone or betraying your word then these are signs of bigger problems.
Our emotions are meant to serve God first and foremost. The bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and indeed fear is what leads to humility which leads to obedience. Here is the next thing though: obedience and worship are very related. When God commanded us not to have idols in our lives, it didn't mean having stone statues in our pockets or giant golden bulls we bow down to (even though people are still doing these things).
It meant not placing our fears and hopes in something or someone more than we place them in God. Plain and simple.
Yet through Satan's trickery so long ago man was indentured into slavery because of the power of death. Like it or not, the reality of death shapes every aspect of our lives and this is slavery which the devil uses to his advantage to make you obey the world and ultimately obey him.
Yet here's the Good News, and my how very good it is:
Through Christ (and Christ alone) we are promised eternal life in a perfect world with perfect bodies free from the curse of death, disease and suffering. We are also promised an unfolding journey of companionship and transformation from the moment we accept Him as our Savior and into the next age, where we will be with Him forever. This journey is as sure as the rising of the sun and we will not fail because it is God who is doing the work in our lives and not ourselves. Therefore, the destination is also guaranteed.
The cross is so much more than just a man dying for the world's sins and then coming to life a few days later.
The cross is God Himself destroying the greatest idol of our existence (death) and turning it into the greatest source of hope and freedom through the power of love.
It is the ultimate victory over the devil, over evil and over our own fears. It is the breaking of our spiritual chains just like God broke the chains of the Hebrews in Egypt through His supernatural intervention.
It is also why Justice and Mercy kissed at the foot of the cross and why true freedom only comes from a relationship to Jesus Christ. Only Christ has overcome the world (meaning death) and only He can promise what He's promised.
Through Him we are given the ultimate hope in a dying and hopeless world, and THAT is some Good News indeed.