“Be careful now, don’t drop it!” my wife said. I was carrying a hot casserole from the oven to the table. It was a tense moment, but I came through. I had a grip on that thing that would have made Superman proud.
Sometimes we hold things tightly because they are valuable, or because they are fragile, or simply because we don’t want to lose them. Now that’s what death tries to do when it gets ahold of us. It holds us tight so that we can’t get loose and escape. But when Jesus was in the grave, God had other ideas.
Peter, in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, put it this way in Acts 2:24 – “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.” Death could not hold Jesus. The death grip was powerless against God’s Omnipotence!
The word “held” means “to use strength to seize or attain something.” This Greek verb actually comes from the noun meaning “great vigor, or strength.” So it is a word referring to a strong grip – to be held tightly.
What an interesting word to describe the nature of death. Death does not give up its victims easily. The grim reaper passes his sickle through the field of humanity and binds the bodies of his victims with a tough twine worthy of his awesome grasp. The death grip is a permanent grip – that is, permanent except in the presence of almighty God!
On resurrection morning after Christ had died on the cross – God simply said “Arise!” and the bands of death snapped like dry twigs. Death released its tenacious grasp. The tentacles of darkness retreated into the abyss, and life once again surged through the body of Jesus. He was raised up because God had “loosed the pains of death.” For you see, it was not possible that He should be held by it!
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Child of God, death cannot hold you, either! Be encouraged that Christ is our victory over death!