This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional comes from Gil Kracke.

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:8-10, NIV)

U2 enigmatically dubbed their 2004 album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. There isn’t much in the track listing that gives an indication about munitions, though, or becoming a member of your local bomb squad; but if you were sucker enough to buy the, ahem, “Deluxe” Edition disc, you’ll find an actual epigraph. “I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world”—a phrase taken and paraphrased by Oppenheimer on the first test of the atomic bomb in 1945. The album, written largely on the heels of the death of Bono’s father, is about dismantling death.

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Which brings us, not surprisingly, squarely to Paul’s opening words to Timothy: “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death…” I am struck by how bald that phrase stands—Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, the One Who Was Slain, The Destroyer of the Destroyer of the World.

For Paul, this changes everything, as the letter starts here and works backward. Fear not, do not be ashamed, join with me in suffering. Just as we didn’t do anything to destroy death, nothing shall happen to us in life or death now; the power of God shall prevail. We know the end of the story, even as we are in its midst—this is the basis of our hope.

How is death, the atomic bomb, dismantled? By the appearing of the Power of God in the Flesh, known to us as love. Love came down at Christmas, love came back to life again at Easter, and love (as Bono would write) is the end of history. Death has been destroyed, and it is not our end; immortality has been given in its stead. Love will be the last word of our history, written in arrears. As Paul wrote another time, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” This present darkness shall not last, for a light shines in the darkness, and Christ Jesus, the Destroyer of Death, himself the answer to the question posed by the album’s title, has brought life and immortality to light.