(This is part 5 of a series of Advent posts on what Christ came to do.)
As the death toll climbs from the Asian tsunami disaster, it is approaching the average daily world-wide death toll.
Using the figures published by the CIA, found here, for world population and the annual death rate, I calculated that approximately 56.5 million people die every year, 4.7 million every month, and almost 155 thousand every day. The figures are staggering. Every minute 108 people meet the Maker in whose image they were made.
Day in and day out we go on with our lives hardly noticing the death and destruction all around us. Then something like this happens and we pause and take notice. Even if the one-day death toll from the tsunami should reach 150 thousand, as many suggest it will, it will still be only a blip on the statistical screen of the march of death. But we are not talking about numbers here. We are talking about people. Individual people with hopes and dreams, with other people who loved them, each with a unique blend of talents, desires, and personality.
Christians know that all this death entered the world because of the sin of one man and yet through one Man death is overcome.
Romans 5:12, 15 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned...But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ,abounded to many.
On any normal day when the death toll is 155 thousand, or on an unusual day like December 26, 2004, when the death toll may have been 300 thousand, we ought to be instructed on the heinous nature of sin. Just as we helplessly coexist with death, we often take sin lightly, don't we? We have become numb to its presence, just as we have become numb to the death and destruction that results from it.
But God is not numb to it. Nor is He helpless. And this is another reason why Christ came in the flesh. He came to conquer death and sin for us, who are unable to deal with it ourselves. In the place of death He gives us life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
I John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.
I Corinthians 15:54-57 "So when this corruptible has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law, But thanks be to God, who gives us the vistory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So the sorrow then, on any given day, is not that 150 thousand or 300 thousand souls bearing the image of God succumb to death, but that so very many of them do so not knowing the Redeemer who gives victory over death and hope in all our sorrows.
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.