I have a friend named Bobby who drives a bulldozer. For years, he has cleared land for farmers and the oilfield industry.

Surprisingly, the number one hazard in Bobby’s profession is not crashing into something with his bulldozer. It’s not hitting a gas line or falling trees. The number one hazard in Bobby’s profession is killer bees.

Africanized bees nest in hollow trees here in Texas. Since I’ve known him, Bobby has been attacked by swarms of killer bees at least three times after knocking down a tree. In each instance, he has sustained hundreds of stings.

He has told me of the horror of hearing that buzzing sound and running for his life from the attacking swarm.

Can you imagine how that must feel? Can you imagine the pain? Can you imagine going to the hospital and having them meticulously pull out hundreds of stingers from your body?

In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the Apostle Paul talks about the “sting of death.”

Death hurts. Well, to be clear, dying hurts. In and of itself, death doesn’t hurt, but the process of dying does. As a pastor, over the years, I have seen the pain and frustration people feel as they are dying.

But, like a swarm of Africanized bees, death has many stings. Besides the physical toll, there’s the emotional strain – the frustration of not getting better and the mental anguish of chronic pain.

And then there’s the sting for those who are left behind – who have to watch their husband of fifty years, their mom or dad, their son or daughter, suffer and die. The sting of death is often felt most sharply by those who are left behind.

The thought of death stings because deep down, we all have an innate fear of death. We know what we’ve done. We feel the sting of our consciences. The thought of having to stand before God’s judgment throne – to stand before a holy God – is scary.

Thankfully, Jesus suffered death’s sting for us. On the cross, Jesus suffered the sting for all the sins of all people of all time. Picture a swarm of a hundred billion killer bees attacking him there on the cross.

But that’s why death has lost its sting. Usually when a bee stings, their stinger breaks off. They can’t sting anyone anymore. Jesus took the sting of sin for you. He took the stinger out of death by dying and rising again on that first Easter Sunday.

Right now, when a person dies – even for a Christian – it stings. It hurts. We miss them. Yet, because of what Jesus did for them, they are not hurting. Again, death itself doesn’t hurt. When a believer dies, they close their eyes to this world and open them to the happiness of heaven.

When you die, your soul will live with God and all believers in the peace and perfection of heaven, until the Judgment Day. Then at that last trumpet, we will rise physically just like Jesus did.

And on that day, death will be “swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54). Death will be done forever. We will live, body and soul, together with God and all believers forever. Never again will we hurt. Never again will we age. Never again will die.

Because of Jesus, death has lost its sting.

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— Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for over 20 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church with campuses in Edna and Victoria. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364DaysofThanksgiving.com. His new book, “364 Days of Devotion,” is now available on amazon.com.