Matthew 28:5-7, “5 But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’”
There are few things in this life that are final.
Take sports, for example. I remember when I was much younger, and I would get excited about championships like the World Series, the Super Bowl, or the NCAA’s national championship. They seemed so important; they seemed to mean so much. But they’ve lost much of that excitement for me through the years. I think the main reason is that they’re never really final.
This isn’t to minimize what it takes to try to get to a championship, let alone win one. The time, effort, and sacrifice the players and coaches give and make is truly staggering. They certainly deserve the accolades from their championship victories. What I mean is that, as wonderful as their achievement is, it only lasts a few months before we’re doing it all again. How great can the victory be when a new champion will be crowned 12 months later?
What happened today is final. Jesus contended with every single one of your enemies when He went to the cross. Few college football seasons, for example, end without objections from the teams that didn’t get to play in the playoff. “Yes, they won,” the fans say, “but our team matched up against them much better. We would have beaten them.” That objection is not possible today. Sin, death, the power of the devil—they’re all broken today. They have all done their worst to Him and He is victorious. There are no enemies left to oppose your King.
It is final. And it is, in fact, your victory, as well. Because the enemies that He chose to take on are your enemies. Sin may continue to torment you, but “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The devil may trouble you, but “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Death still looms in the future, frightening and unknown, but Christ is only the “firstborn of the dead” (Revelation 1:4). “56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).
“On the cross, the enemies of God were truly destroyed, the devil’s plan backfired, and death and sin swallowed up themselves. Through His death, Jesus has loosed the bonds of your death. You are free from the death of hell, and your own passing is but a brief slumber that takes you to the arms of Jesus Christ. Because He endured your death— taking it upon Himself— you have true life and will never truly die. Therefore, just as your death is His, so His life is yours. When God raised Jesus up, He raised you up and made this resurrection yours in your baptism. And He [continues] to assure you of this life. When you eat and drink Christ’s body and blood, this living God unites Himself again to you, forgiving your sin, and rejuvenating you, even as your body appears to be failing. Your body, broken by death, will be restored by this body of God and will live forever, the culmination of the life of faith that you have in Christ. …[On this holy day,] look to Christ who died the full death of hell so that you will live a new life. His resurrected body and blood are yours. His promise is yours. He has loosed your bonds forever.”
To paraphrase Johann Gerhard: the One who died for you on the cross stands by you in death and protects you in the day of judgment. When this earthly tent of yours has been destroyed (2 Cor. 5), He will bring your soul into the eternal dwelling of your heavenly home. When your eyes are darkened in the struggle of death, He will shine in your heart with the light of saving faith. When the cold sweat bursts forth from your dying members, He will remind you of His bloody sweat that burst forth as the perfect payment for your sins and the remedy against the evil of your death (Luke 22:44).
When, in that last struggle, speech begins to fail, He will grant that through the grace of the Holy Spirit you are able to sigh to Him. When those last difficulties press on your heart, He will stand by you with the consolation and help of His life-giving grace. And, in that moment when you are beyond the help of anyone else, He will receive you into His care and protection.
Through His most holy wounds, endured as He suffered on the cross, He grants that you are able to overcome the fiery arrows of Satan with which he attacks you in death. By the severest torments that He experienced during the crucifixion, He helps you endure and overcome all the insults of the power of hell so that your last word in the light of this world may be the same one with which He brought to completion all things on the cross: Please receive my spirit, which You bought back at such a high price and commit it into your hands. 
And, finally, in that day of severe judgment, He will exempt you from any harsh word. The One who is treated so unjustly will judge, on that day, in perfect righteousness. As He does, your sins will remain hidden by the umbrella of His grace and be cast into the depths of the sea as your soul is bound up in the bundle of the living God so that, with all the elect, you may reach the eternal fellowship of joy. And then, finally, at the culmination of all things, your blessed death will be followed by a blessed resurrection.
People of the Kingdom, things in this life are rarely final. Today is. This victory is final. And eternal.
“People of the Kingdom” Lenten Devotions © 2020, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Unionville, Michigan. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Crossway Bibles, Wheaton, IL. Used with permission.
 “Visitation Devotions,” Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO. Edited by Arthur A. Just, Jr., and Scot A. Kinnaman. p. 123-124.