Reversing the Curse
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Preached at Main Street Church on Easter Sunday 2018
Easter is the day we celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and is living today. And the reason we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, is it means that we also will someday be raised from the dead.
The title of my message this morning is “Reversing the Curse.” And I want to talk about what the curse is, how Jesus reversed it, and what you should do as a result.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, they brought a curse upon all creation. And the most painful sting of the curse was that now all of humanity would experience the sting of death. Genesis 3:19 says, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
But Jesus came to reverse the curse. He came to reverse death. And when he rose from the dead almost 2000 years ago, that is exactly what he did. And he gives life to everyone who believes in him. So on Easter, we celebrate that.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 “’O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Death causes pain too intense for words. Perhaps you’ve experienced that pain. Let’s look at how Jesus responded to death.
Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, were good friends of Jesus. Lazarus had been severely sick and Mary and Martha had called out to Jesus, but he hadn’t come in time. John 11:32 says, “Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’”
Mary and Martha had sent a message to Jesus saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” And the text tells us that Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. John 11:33-35 says, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.’”
When Jesus had an encounter with death, he did not avoid it. He asked, ‘Where have you laid him?’ And when he saw it, he wept. Death causes pain too intense for words. But the text says when Jesus saw them weeping, “he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” These are the strongest words ever used in the Bible to describe Jesus’ response to something. “The emotion is the revulsion of everything that is in him against the power of death.” This shows us Jesus’ posture towards death. He hates it.
The Love of Jesus
Why? Does Jesus hate death? Why is he so moved when he sees everyone weeping, why is he so angered when he visits the grave of Lazarus? John 11:5 “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Death destroys what God loves. It destroys his people made in his image. It is the curse of sin. And it is the reason Jesus came: to reverse the curse. 1 John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus came to reverse the curse. He came to destroy death. He came so that death might no longer hurt “the one whom he loves.”
How Jesus Reversed the Curse
The question is: how? How could Jesus reverse the curse? The only way that Jesus could reverse the curse, was to become cursed himself. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” That is, he removed the curse from us, by taking the curse on himself. 1 Corinthians says the same thing: 1 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God’s plan to reverse the curse goes all the way back Genesis 3. Immediately after Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, God made a promise that one day a child would be born who would crush Satan and be stung in the process. It says, “The Lord God said to the serpent…‘he shall crush your head, and you shall strike his heel.’” On the cross, Jesus crushed the head of the serpent; he destroyed death, but had to endure the sting of death in the process. When mankind disobeyed God, they were cursed because of sin, but the worst curse fell upon Jesus on the cross. Jesus reversed the curse by bearing the curse in our place on the cross. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” “For our sake he (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
On the cross God treated Jesus as guilty, so that he might treat us as innocent. God poured out the curse on Jesus, so that he might pour out blessing on us. God treated Jesus as a sinner, so that he might treat us as saints. Jesus suffered the curse of death, so that we might have eternal life.
But after enduring the curse, his body in the grave for three days, Jesus was raised from the dead! And an angel rolled back the stone of Jesus’ tomb and he walked out, alive. Jesus died, but death could not hold him. Jesus endured the curse of sin, but he absorbed it completely. And when he rose from the dead, the sting of death was taken away. Death no longer has any power. Death no longer has any authority. Death has been disarmed, because Jesus is alive, and by rising from the dead, he reversed the curse.
“’O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Once when my sister was nine years old some boys shot her in the arm with an air soft gun. She came in crying to my dad, pointing to the stinging mark on her arm. After learning what had happened, her father bolted into action. He went outside, found the boys who had hurt her, and demanded they hand over their weapons. He began breaking the plastic guns into pieces, while saying “No one hurts my daughter!” Each word punctuated by snapping plastic.
The way he ensured that his daughter, whom he loved, would never be hurt, never be stung by those weapons again, was by destroying them. And because of what Jesus did on the cross, death has been taken out of the hands of the enemy and destroyed by the hands of the father. Death has been destroyed. Death can no longer hurt you. You may have been stung by it, but the greatest sting would be taken by Jesus on the cross so that death would be destroyed forever.
Death has been taken out of the hands of the enemy and destroyed by the hands of the father. Jesus hates death, and he hates how it destroys what he loves, so he faced it head on and said, “I will take the sting. I will take the curse.” And the Father said, “I will destroy death” so he put the curse upon his own son, so that you might live. And in doing so he destroyed death and it’s power forever. Colossians 2:15 says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” He took their weapons and broke them over his knee and said, ‘no one hurts my daughter. No one hurts the one whom I love.’
Why would Jesus endure the curse? Because he loves you. John 3:16. The cross is, at the same time, the greatest demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, and death, and the curse, and it is the greatest demonstration of his love for you. If you believe in him you will have eternal life.
The curse says, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” but Jesus has reversed the curse, so that 1 Corinthians 15:49 says, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
Death has been defeated. Death has died. And everyone who believes in him will be raised from the dead when he returns. So here is the question for you: Will you believe in Jesus and receive his gift of life that he earned by reversing the curse for you?
Running from God, or to God?
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, their relationship with him changed, and instead of enjoying a great relationship with God, they ran from him. They hid. That’s what sin causes us to do. To try to run and hide from God. Peter – the one who said he would never desert Jesus, did. When a little girl pressed him, in his most critical moment, he ran and hid.
But When Jesus was raised and appeared to Mary he sent her to tell the disciples, Luke says none of the disciples believed, but Peter ran to the tomb. Jesus is alive and raised from the dead, so no matter how many times you’ve failed
- Run to the tomb
- Run to the resurrected Lord
- Run to Christ, and believe
“’O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”