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When he was born his parents named him James Hellwig. As he grew, it was evident that he was a strapping young specimen of a guy and in his older teen years he became a body builder. His hard work paid off in not only building a strong body but one that was a championship body, a trophy winning body. In time, James Hellwig decided to move from just body building to becoming one of the actors in the wrestling arena. There again he excelled. He became one of the most popular participants in professional wrestling, massive in size and with a great spirit that was charismatic. He began to be hailed as The Ultimate Warrior and finally changed his name, legally, to Warrior. I long since stopped following all the hype and shenanigans of professional wrestling but needless to say they didn’t go out of business when I stopped watching or even caring. Millions of people enthusiastically, excitedly, passionately follow professional wrestling. One week before Easter as he and his wife walked out of a hotel, The Ultimate Warrior, James Hellwig, collapsed just outside the hotel and died. He was 54 years old and he was gone.
A couple of weeks before his death he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and acclaimed worldwide as one of the greatest wrestlers ever; but, a week before Easter, he was dead. At 54 he was beginning new ventures in his life beyond just getting in the arena and throwing people around. He still seemed to be in good shape. It seemed as though life was good for him. Unexpectedly, unannounced, sadly, they called for help, they called for 911, and he was rushed to the hospital there to be pronounced dead. The Ultimate Warrior was gone. He left behind a wife, two young daughters, friends and admirers, for shockingly and sadly, he discovered, his family discovered, and the rest of the world discovered that The Ultimate Warrior had been defeated by death. The declaration of Scripture is irrefutable, undeniable, and unmanageable, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). The Ultimate Warrior had joined the ranks of every person who ever lived. I’m sure at times he thought about death but no doubt would never have dreamed at 54 this massive, health-conscious, specimen of a man would have died at 54 nor would he have picked that day or that place for life to end but The Ultimate Warrior is gone.
This is Easter week which is unquestionably the greatest date on the Christian calendar. For once again we will celebrate. We will remember that Jesus died. We will consider again that He died on that cross; not for His sins, not for any flaws or failures in Him, not for any wrongdoing that He had committed or vile words He would have said, but He died for our sins. For every evil thought we ever had. For every evil deed we ever did. For every evil thing we ever said. He took all of my sins upon Him, all of the consequences of the wrong that I have done. Those were laid on Him, and Jesus died for me and for you.
The icy fingers of death gripped His life and the last breath was taken as He hung limp on that cross. They took Him down, wrapped His body in grave clothes and placed Him in the tomb. They sealed the tomb and life was over; death had claimed its greatest trophy. A day passed and another and another and the tomb was quiet. Then on the third day, the third day, all would change. For on that third day the world was going to be introduced in ways so amazing, so dramatic, so victorious that truly, He, would be The Ultimate Warrior. No, His name was not James Hellwig; His name was Jesus, the Son of the living God, who is alive forevermore. For the very first time death had lost one of its victims. The mighty power of death had met The Ultimate Warrior. “And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Jesus was, is and forever will be alive. Paul says in that great resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 that “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (v. 26).
Every day on average there are about 250,000 people who die on planet Earth. Our faith in the living Christ enables any and every person to live and die knowing that their confidence is in Jesus who became the first fruits of the resurrection, meaning He was the first one who escaped death, defeat, to live forever. But you and I by faith in Him can know that because He lives we shall live also. So be sure that you join together with a band of folks Sunday singing, praising, praying and celebrating that we truly do know The Ultimate Warrior who conquered death and shared life with all of us. In fact, don’t wait until Sunday to begin, just break out in song right now. You will honor Him and you can bless somebody there around you.