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Enduring tidings of Easter: 'O death, where is thy sting?'

Enduring tidings of Easter: 'O death, where is thy sting?'

A reflection from the South Central District superintendent

In George Stevens' biblical epic “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” John Wayne made a cameo appearance as a Roman centurion who leads Jesus to his crucifixion.

A probably apocryphal story says that when Wayne delivered his only line, "Truly, this was the Son of God," for the first time, Stevens called, "Cut!"

He turned to Wayne. "You're referring to the Son of God here, Duke," he observed. "You've got to deliver the line with a little more awe."

Wayne dutifully did the take again and solemnly declared: "Aw, truly this was the Son of God!" 

If you had to select a special day on the calendar, what day would you select?
Walter Monroe headshot
Rev. Dr. Walter Monroe Jr.

For me, the most important day on the calendar is Easter. Easter is the one-day event whose sunrise is welcomed by the whole world. The arrival of other days may come with fear, but not Easter. All across the world, the people gather early that morning to hear again the good news of the Resurrection.

What makes this day so different? Why is Easter so gladly welcomed?

Because Easter means "Good News" and "Glad Tidings." This world could use some good news today.

"He is risen; he is not here:
behold the place where they
laid him." — Mark 16:6

Until that first Easter, the news from the tomb was bad. Life was like a fading flower. Life was like grass that withered.

Then came the words spoken by the Apostle Paul: "O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Because of Easter, good news can be answered with confidence and joy: "I thank my God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ."

Jesus proves the Good News. On the cross Jesus died. He was dead! The soldier said He was dead. The agents of Caesar said He was dead. Make no mistake about it, Jesus died on that cross. He was not just unconscious or in a trance — He was dead!

But the good news from the tomb says, "Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foes; He arose a Victor from the dark domain. And He lives forever with His saints to reign: He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!"

Rev. Dr. Walter Monroe Jr. is the superintendent for the South Central District of the Florida Conference.