- Triumphant Over Death
Contributed by Christopher Benfield on Apr 17, 2017
Scripture: Revelation 1:18
Summary: The greatest triumph ever recorded was Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. His victory over sin and death provided victory for every believer, and the promise of eternal life. We have nothing to fear because our Lord has risen as the Victor!
Triumphant over Death
Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
We can think of many times where defeat seemed inevitable for the people of God, and yet the Lord brought great victory to them. In the midst of their impossibility, the Lord worked in mighty and miraculous ways. While each situation was different, they all experienced the awesome presence and omnipotence of the Lord. They discovered that they were more than conquerors through Him.
While every situation we have considered happened thousands of years ago, we too can overcome through Christ our Savior. Like the saints before us, His presence and power remains available to all who are in Christ. Paul declared – we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us! We have the hope and assurance of victory because Christ our Lord secured the ultimate victory. He faced death and rose again in triumphant life. Because of His glorious resurrection, we are more than conquerors in whatever trial we face through Christ.
Today is a day of celebration and praise for the believer. We want to celebrate the victorious triumph of our Lord and Redeemer as we will on Easter. No greater triumph has ever happened than the resurrection of Christ. Therein our hope and assurance for the future lies. As we consider the greatest triumph of all time, I want to examine the certainties our Lord revealed in this verse as we think on: Triumphant over Death. Notice:
I. He spoke of His Crucifixion (18a) – I am he that liveth, and was dead. As John stood in the presence of the resurrected Christ, our Lord affirmed His death. For some this came as a surprise, but Jesus knew this was His purpose for coming to earth in the form of a man. He came to earth to die! He came to offer Himself the sacrifice for the sin of humanity. All were born in sin, separated from God. Because of sin, all were condemned and worthy of righteous judgment. In order for atonement to be made for sin, there had to be a perfect sacrifice. Jesus alone was worthy to become that sacrifice. In order for men to be forgiven and reconciled to God, Jesus had to come, robed in flesh, and offer Himself as the atoning sacrifice.
As I pondered these powerful words of our Lord, I was reminded of the enormity of death. It is the one aspect of life that men fear most. There is an innate desire within us to live. As Jesus came to earth, many believed in Him as the Christ. They followed His teaching and placed their confidence in Him as God in flesh. We cannot imagine the grief and sorrow they felt as Jesus died upon the cross. No doubt their hope and dreams were shattered at that moment. The One they had believed in, the One they placed their eternal trust in had died. Now their hearts were filled with doubt, fear, and uncertainty. Luke 23:46 – And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Luke 24:1 – Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. The hope of these women, and all who followed Christ, appeared to be buried with Him in the tomb.
Such seasons of doubt and despair remain today. We continue to live in bodies of flesh that are not immortal. We face death and other insurmountable obstacles. Had Jesus not endured death, and overcome triumphant, we would yet be without hope. However, there is nothing to fear for those who are in Christ. We face nothing, not even death itself that we cannot overcome in Him.
II. He spoke of His Resurrection (18a) – I am he that liveth, and was dead. Bear in mind, John had encountered the risen Christ following the resurrection, but Jesus offered a glorious reminder as he received the Revelation. Although Jesus was dead, buried within the tomb for three days, He now stood alive and speaking with John.
This is the fact that sets Christianity apart from all other forms of religion and spiritual movements. Had Christ not risen from the tomb, He would have been like every other man who came before Him. He would have suffered the same defeat, a mere mortal succumbing to the icy grip of death. However, Jesus lay in the grave for three days, but the grave could not hold Him. What appeared to be His greatest defeat was actually His greatest triumph! On that third, glorious morning, Jesus came forth in triumphant resurrection life. He was not destined to become another entry among the great men of history. Jesus was not like the others; He was God robed in flesh. Satan sought His defeat, but was unable to keep Jesus bound in death! Luke 24:5 – And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee. 1 Cor.15:4-8 – And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
This is where our hope and victory rests today. Had Jesus not risen from the tomb, we would have no hope of eternal life. But, because He lives, we too have the glorious promise of resurrection life beyond the grave. Death was not final for Christ our Lord, and it will not be final for those who are in Christ, saved by His grace! John 11:25-26 – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? Rom.4:25 – Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
III. He spoke of His Ascension (18a) – I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen. Jesus affirmed that He was destined to never taste of death again. He was not the first to experience resurrection life, but He was the first to rise again from the grave and die no more. Although He had lived and died, He was now alive and well – alive for evermore!
As I considered these powerful words of our Lord, I was reminded of His glorious ascension as well. Following a brief period of forty days on earth after the resurrection, Jesus ascended back to the Father. Acts 1:10-11 – And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers. He is not idle; He stands as our Mediator and Intercessor. Heb.12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb.7:25 – Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Our Lord is also making preparations for the saved by grace to join Him throughout all eternity. This world of sin, death, and sorrow is not all we have to look forward to in life. There is a better day coming as we inhabit the glories of heaven in the presence of our Lord and Savior! John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
IV. He spoke of His Provision (18b) – I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Death is the aspect of life that men fear most. It is the final battle we face prior to leaving this life. Since the fall of man in the Garden, death has reigned upon this earth. We continue to deal with it today. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Death and hell could not hold Christ as He was buried in the tomb. He rose in triumphant victory, having the keys of both hell and death! There is nothing left to conquer; there is no adversary who can defeat Him! While sin brings death to those who refuse to repent and receive Christ, salvation brings deliverance from the judgment of sin and promises eternal life!
The saved by grace are delivered from condemnation in Christ Jesus our Lord. We no longer have to fear death or standing accountable for our sin. Christ secured our salvation and delivered us from the bondage of sin, death, and hell. Rom.8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 Tim.1:10 – But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Heb.2:14-15 – Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Conclusion: Today we celebrate the ultimate victory for humanity. This victory was secured on our behalf. The Lord Jesus Christ bore our sin while enduring the righteous judgment of God for you and me. He died in our place, so we could escape eternal death. He rose again in triumphant life, bringing the promise of resurrection and eternal life to all who believe in Him. This is the greatest victory ever spoken of by human lips.
I am thankful for the victory I have in Christ. He provided what I alone could never accomplish. My faith rests in the finished work of Christ my Lord through His marvelous grace. I celebrate a risen, living Lord who intercedes for me daily and is making preparation for all the redeemed in heaven. Do you know Christ as your personal Savior? If so rejoice and offer praise unto Him. If not, I urge you to respond by faith and in repentance of sin for salvation today! o