The bomb blast in Brussels killed more than 30 people and reverberated around the world as Christians were in the midst of Holy Week leading up to the triumph of Easter Sunday.
Followers of Christ will be celebrating Jesus’ rising from the tomb as dozens of families in Belgium will be laying loved ones in the grave. The juxtaposition is jarring.
We often see a similar burst of violence and death around Christmas.
In the midst of eternal life, we are confronted once again with seemingly endless death. While the grave still cannot hold the King, it continually claims more of His subjects. We long for the new life of Easter and spring, but the icy grip of death and winter hold on.
But it will not always be so.
In Narnia, it was “always winter and never Christmas.” But then the thawing of the snow and ice assured the children and talking beasts that the White Witch was losing control. Spring and Aslan was on the move.
It should not be surprising that evil lashes out in the week we celebrate its conquering. Death is a defeated foe who, knowing his fate is secure, unleashes his fury on those who bear the image of the One who crushed him.
Jesus has conquered the grave and, in Him, we have the same victory. That cannot sit well with Satan and the vanquished forces of evil.
Like a child who has been rightly refused his way, Satan kicks and screams. His tantrum is fierce and, from our perspective, over-powering.
For him, Easter is like a bitter reminder of his assured and soon coming ultimate defeat. He reminds him of what he already knows. The cross, which he thought was his victory, became the instrument of his defeat.
It is a lesson he cannot comprehend and the pages of Scripture reveal his continual failure.
Satan sowed discord and hatred into Jacob’s family, the one God had chosen. He could stop God’s plan if he caused the brothers to betray one another. They sold Joseph into slavery. As soon as he started to gain influence, Satan had him tossed in jail.
That would end God’s plan. He had divided and ended this family God had set apart. Except not.
God used those very circumstances to save the very family Satan had intended to destroy. As Joseph tells his brothers, “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” (Genesis 50:20)
Think through the Old Testament: The Egyptians trying to kill all the Jewish baby boys, Haman seeking to kill Mordecai and all his family, Babylon and virtually every other Middle Eastern empire trying to conquer Israel.
We see this most clearly through the cross. Satan personally entered Judas to bring about this result. Nothing was going to hinder his plan this time. He succeeded in having Jesus arrested, beaten, betrayed, convicted, sentenced, and killed.
On that first Good Friday, Satan must have assumed that he had finally accomplished his goal. He had ended God’s work. He was going to get the glory and the worship. He was going to win.
But then … Easter Sunday. Once again all that he had worked to accomplished only served to undermine him. And that victory Christ assured extended to His followers.
“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. They are the people God called, because that was His plan.” (Romans 8:28)
It must be frustrating to have every plan backfire. To have every temporary victory only further assure your permanent defeat.
The murder of innocent individuals by terrorists should provoke mourning. God hates death and so should we. Things are not as they should be. But neither are they as they will be.
Evil, regardless how it appears right now, has been defeated. Brussels points us to Calvary. The cross reassures us that death must give way to life.