"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." —Psalm 118:17
Those witnessing for the risen Christ are a sign of contradiction (see Lk 2:34) to the culture of death in which we live. Therefore, those who have not met the risen Christ and are enslaved by the devil, the prince of death (Heb 2:14-15), oppose those proclaiming risen life in Christ. They will threaten us with punishment, violence, or death if we continue to speak of risen life. However, because we are not afraid to suffer or die, we will say: "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight for us to obey you rather than God. Surely we cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen" (Acts 4:19-20; see also Acts 5:29). Then we will have an even better opportunity to proclaim risen life since the threat of death will make our proclamation of life in Christ even more credible.
Thus, for us " 'life' means Christ; hence dying is so much gain" (Phil 1:21). "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55) As witnesses for the risen Jesus, we are willing to "face death every day" (1 Cor 15:31). If we miraculously escape death, even more people will believe in the risen Christ. If we don't escape death, we will be raised from the dead. Therefore, witness for Jesus in the face of death and be raised by Jesus after death. Witness and rise!
Prayer: Father, may my attitude toward death surprise people and open them up to You.
Promise: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation." —Mk 16:15
Praise: Alleluia! "I will give thanks to You," Jesus, "for You...have been my Savior" (Ps 118:21). You are victorious over death!
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Evangelization on audio AV 55-1 and AV 55-3 or video V-55.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 31, 2011
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