I Won! – Week of April 25, 2022
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54b-57
Our younger son, now grown and with a family, has always loved games. As a child, he tried so hard to start “Family Game Night.” I loved it. Our other son and their dad, not so much. For weeks, Adam and I would sit at the kitchen table playing Mancala, Monopoly, or any number of games. Eventually he gave up involving his dad and brother.
When he would come home from college and several years after college, our tradition was cribbage or Scrabble. He was a notable opponent for me. Those rare times when I came out ahead, it was hard to resist the fist pump and a gleeful shout (often with a question mark at the end), “I won!?”.
“I won.” Words of triumph. Words of victory. It can be really sweet to be able to say those words after a rousing match of your favorite game with a friend or family member. There’s a sense of accomplishment and joy. However, that moment of joy typically lasts until you move on to other activities. It was sweet for a moment.
Today’s reading talks about victory at another level entirely. The victory described is the greatest triumph in the history of the world. Christ had been crucified, enduring an unthinkable death, for all of us and the endless sins we commit. “It is finished” are three of the most amazing words ever spoken. They carry the powerful message that the payment God demands for our sins has been fully met through Jesus.
But the story is not over. Jesus did indeed die on Good Friday. And then he declared his victory over Satan. “I won!” he could exclaim like no other victory ever. I’m not sure there was a fist pump that glorious Easter morning, but Christ rising from the dead and an empty tomb, gave evidence for all time that Jesus had won the victory over death for all who believe in him. And this victory was not momentary. It was for all time. This is a victory that is ours every day of our lives. We can begin each day, go through each day, and end each day with the words, “I won…because of Jesus!” His victory over death and sin is our victory. We can live each day, no matter what challenges lie before us, with the confidence that heaven is ours. Peace through God’s forgiveness is ours. God’s faithful promise to be with us in all things is ours. We can say that every single day. There is no other win that comes even close to that.
Since our son got married and had three little ones, we don’t get to that cribbage board quite as often. Those shouts of “I won” now come from the children. It’s the prayer of every Christian that the joyful expression of victory through Christ is ours today and every day. He is risen indeed! His victory is ours.
Dear Jesus, May I never lose the joy of Easter and the victory you’ve won for me. Help me to live each day in that joy and peace and to share it with my students, their families, and all those around me. In your name I pray. Amen