First Death, Then Life

Several times in the past week, visitors to the city have mentioned how much they love the bread and baked goods that they find in Basel. Indeed, we are spoiled with French, German and Swiss bakeries turning out a wide variety of freshly baked dough each day. During Lent, there is even a special kind of bread just for this period. I’m looking forward to some homemade Hot Cross Buns on Easter morning. Bread is one of my favorite foods. However, all this wonderful bread starts with death.

We don’t associate bread with death (even though the carbs and calories add up). Bread comes from wheat, which comes from seeds, which must be planted in the ground. Jesus told us in John 12 that “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)

This is the reality behind the Easter story as well. The death of Jesus comes before the resurrection. First there is death and then there is life. On the cross, he paid the price for our sins. With his resurrection, he defeated death, the final enemy, and opened the way for us to enjoy eternal life.

As this weekend approaches, we ponder these mysteries. Both Good Friday and Easter Sunday are necessary to complete the whole story of our salvation. Eternal life requires the pain and the glory.

Since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; 
death no longer has any power over him.
The life he lives, he lives to God. Alleluia!
Because of our sins, he was handed over to die;
and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God.
The life he lives, he lives to God. Alleluia!
(Lutheran Easter Benediction)