Writing in the 17th Century the London based independent preacher, theologian and academic John Owen, coined the phrase ‘The Death of Death in the Death of Christ’. The title became one of the most famous works to originate from the rich tradition of Puritan literature in England. While few today will appreciate and take time to plumb the depths of John Owen’s unsurpassed and unanswered arguments as he examined the wonder of our Saviour’s sacrifice, the title itself is a rich mine of truth and worthy of meditation, especially on Good Friday. Christ’s death truly was a ‘Death of Death’.

The Son of God died.

Eternal deity in the form of humanity surrendered to the humiliation of death as immortality was buried!

Sin was executed.

The weight of our sin and disobedience, which crushes our souls, was borne by our Saviour; ‘Burdens are lifted at Calvary’.

The curse of the law was broken.

The sword of God’s curse was unsheathed in Eden driving our first parents out of Paradise into a world of misery and pain. This sword was finally sheathed when it plunged into the soul of our precious Saviour as He took the curse for us; justice was satisfied.

The power of death was broken.

Writing some years after the first Good Friday, St Paul asked the question, ‘O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory’. Death, which breaks the ties of marriage, creates orphans, is the cause of so much suffering and heartbreak and which swallows up everyone without discrimination was broken by the Death of Death. Through His death and subsequent resurrection there is hope for all who trust Christ alone; He is the guarantee of eternal life.

Beside a busy London street is the ancient London burying ground of Bunhill Fields. It is a place of calm reflection away from the noise and bustle of a major city. John Owen’s mortal remains were laid to rest here, as were many famous 17th Century personages including the writer of Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan. Across the street lies John Wesley behind the Methodist Church and the house where the famous evangelist breathed his last.

What a place that old cemetery will be on resurrection day, when graves will be vacated and undertakers made redundant. All because of Good Friday and the Death of Death!


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