Christus Victor: Abandoned to Death but not in Death

If you only listen to one in this series, listen to this one!

Texts: Mark 15:33-37; Matthew 28:5-10

Days 50-51 in Around the Bible in Eighty Days.

Death and Resurrection. This is the pinnacle of the gospel story. The Messiah is victorious in both death and resurrection.

In death, the Messiah is obedient to death, even death on the cross. That is victory over the powers of darkness arrayed against him, seeking to subvert his faithful obedience.

In resurrection, the Messiah is vindicated; he is justified as God’s anointed. That is victory over death itself, swallowing up death in victory.

In death, the Messiah is abandoned but not alienated. The Messiah abandoned to death, just as all humans since Adam have been. But the Messiah is not separated from God as if the Trinity has itself been torn asunder. On the contrary, the Father loves the Son, the Spirit of God rests upon the Son, and the Son knows the ending of Psalm 22 even as he shrieks its first words.

In resurrection, the Messiah is not abandoned in Hades, the realm of the dead. The Father, by the Spirit, raises the Son from the dead, liberating him from the grave. The Messiah, like the Psalmist, experiences deliverance and enters the sacred assembly to praise his Savior. The Messiah was given over to death but redeemed from it.

The Messiah was abandoned to the grave but not in the grave.

We, too, will be abandoned to death but not in the grave.

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