Easter Sunday, Apr 4 (Daily reading: Judges 13-15) It is ironic that on Easter when we celebrate life that we read the story of Samson, because so many people died by Samson’s hand. We can note the examples of Samson’s negative behavior, but we can also see God’s grace at work in his story. There is a parallel between Samson and Jesus: their births were exceptional and announced by angels. The angel told Samson’s mother: “He will begin to save Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (13:5). We remember that the angel told Mary that her baby would be named Jesus (Lk. 1:31). He told Joseph the same thing and added: “For He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).
We see another parallel in the deaths of Samson and Jesus. Samson was seized by his enemies, and tomorrow, we will read: “The dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his lifetime” (16:30). God used Samson both in his life and his death to begin the delivery of His people from the Philistines. Jesus was also put to death by His enemies. We know that it was God’s plan for Jesus to die for the sins of the people. Paul wrote: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom. 6:8). There is a paradox in Jesus’s death and resurrection that we know by faith. We identify with Christ in His death; we die with Him, so that we may have life.
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all time; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. So you too, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:10-11).
– Al Gary