Focus 1 (of 4)-All Due Respect

Focus 1 | All Due Respect

Death never had a shot, although it pretended it did—and there’s proof!
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 1" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Let’s talk about big fish in big ponds.
Watch this video clip when you’re ready to begin today’s Spotlight.
(And welcome, by the way! It’s great that you’re here!)
C🥚nsider what isn’t death.
If it doesn’t sound like a duck, or look like a duck…

In the hymn It is Not Death to Die, César Malan wants you to rethink death. While there are all kinds of thoughts and feelings that come along with the word “death,” this hymn describes death as really being activities (each time by saying “it is not death to ______”) that sound, frankly, not so bad.

Listen to the song (below) and determine which verse is your favorite, and why.


It is not death to die,
to leave this weary road,
and ‘midst the brotherhood on high
to be at home with God.


It is not death to close
the eye long dimmed by tears,
and wake in glorious repose
to spend eternal years.


It is not death to bear
the wrench that sets us free
from dungeon chain, to breathe the air
of boundless liberty.


It is not death to fling
aside this sinful dust,
and rise, on strong, exulting wing,
to live among the just.


O Jesus, Prince of life!
your chosen cannot die:
Like you, they conquer in the strife,
To reign with you on high.
Welcome Perspective
If you over-rate the undeserving,
you will under-rate the best.
Explore Jesus’ final hours.
Read through Acts 2:22–36.

Listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this:
God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
Celebrate that “it is finished” with this song.
Lyrics for It Is Finished by The Modern Post

There’s no deed that can redeem us—
there’s no rite, no magic word.
Only by the work of Jesus,
can salvation be secured.

It is finished! He has done it!
Let your weary heart rejoice;
our redemption is accomplished.
Raise a shout with ragged voice,
and go bravely into battle
knowing he has won the war.
It is finished, lift your head,
and weep no more.

There’s no sacrifice to offer—
there’s no penance to complete.
Freely drink of living water
without money, come and feast.

It is finished! He has done it!
Let your weary heart rejoice;
our redemption is accomplished.
Raise a shout with ragged voice,
and go bravely into battle
knowing he has won the war.
It is finished, lift your head.

Let every sinner rejoice.
Hear the dying victor’s cry.
Raise up your voice,
sing it out through earth and sky.

It is finished! He has done it!
Let your weary heart rejoice;
our redemption is accomplished.
Raise a shout with ragged voice,
and go bravely into battle
knowing he has won the war.
It is finished, lift your head,
and weep no more.
Choose an audio version to listen to and follow along with the text below.
↑ Konkomba is primarily spoken in Ghana and Togo.
↑ Themne is primarily spoken in Sierra Leone.
↑ A dramatized version using characters and sound effects.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28
Reflect on resurrection with this responsive reading.
(If you’re going through this Spotlight in a group, you will read the bolded sections of text while your group leader will read the regularly weighted text.)

A person died—completely—and then that person came back to life.

It was not a medical miracle. It was not resuscitation.

It was not that he was “mostly dead.”

Jesus was as dead, done, and gone as my most distant ancestor and my closest deceased friend.

Jesus was dead because that’s what crucifixion does.

It kills the person who is crucified, and the soldier who stabbed his side proved that it had worked.

Jesus was dead because that’s what being forsaken by God is.

Being near God, being accepted by him—this is what makes and sustains life.

A lifeless Jesus is more remarkable than a lifeless “regular person.”

The Bible says that “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

Jesus is the embodiment of life, so much so, that he was required at creation to give life to all things.

When death squared up against life in the climactic moments of Jesus’ ministry, the life that Jesus brings proved to be stronger.

Jesus predicted it when he said “I am the resurrection and the life.”

But it is still hard to understand.

Jesus predicted it when he told his disciples not to tell anyone about his transfiguration “until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”

But we are like the disciples, who “kept the matter to themselves, discussing what ‘rising from the dead’ meant.”

“Rising from the dead” means nothing is the same, forever.

“Rising from the dead” means dying is a door opening, not a door closing.

“Rising from the dead” means we are not temporary.

“Rising from the dead” means it is not death to die.

A person died—completely—and that person came back to life. He is risen.

He is risen, indeed—and so will I, and so can everyone I meet.
Listen and sing along to this song.
Lyrics for His Heart Beats by Andrew Peterson

His heart beats.
his blood begins to flow,
waking up what was dead a moment ago.
And his heart beats, now everything is changed
’cause the blood that brought us peace with God
is racing through his veins.
And his heart beats.
His heart beats.

He breathes in.
His living lungs expand.
The heavy air surrounding death turns to breath again.
He breathes out.
He is word and flesh once more.
The Lamb of God slain for us is a Lion ready to roar.
And his heart beats.

So crown him the Lord of Life!
Crown him the Lord of Love!
Crown him the Lord of All!

He took one breath
and put death to death.
Where is your sting, 🥚 grave,
how grave is your defeat?
I know, I know his heart beats.

He rises, glorified in flesh,
clothed in immortality, the firstborn from the dead.
He rises, and his work’s already done.
So he’s resting as he rises to reclaim the Bride he won
and his heart beats.

So crown Him the Lord of Life!
Crown Him the Lord of Love!
Crown Him the Lord of All!

He took one breath
and put death to death.
Where is your sting, O grave,
how grave is your defeat?
I know, I know his heart beats!

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
He must reign until no enemy is left.
The last enemy to be destroyed, to be destroyed is death.

His heart beats,
he will never die again.
I know that death no longer has dominion over him.
So my heart beats with the rhythm of the saints
as I look for the seeds the king has down
to burst up from their graves.

I know, I know
he took one breath
and put death to death.
Where is your sting, O grave,
how grave is your defeat?
I know, I know
he took one breath
and put death to death.
Where is your sting, O grave,
how grave is your defeat?
How great, how great is his victory!
I know, I know his heart beats!
I know, I know his heart beats!
His heart beats!
Worship Perspective
Christ disrespects death
(and death can’t defend itself)🥚
to glorify you.
Discover all the signs and wonders that took place when Jesus died.

🥚 Hover over the numbers—sequentially—to uncover the artist’s depictions from Matthew 27:51–53. (Full text can be found beneath the interactive image.)
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Matthew 27:51–53
Think about the point of “signs and wonders.”
Click the button below to view a simple search overview of the use of the phrase “signs and wonders” in the Bible. As you look at the overview, answer this: When miraculous signs and wonders are recorded in the Bible, why are they happening? What’s the point of signs and wonders?


Answer this question, having looked over that list:
Why do signs and wonders happen?

(And, if it helps: How are they like fireworks on New Year’s Eve?)

Find the contrasting pairs.
1 Corinthians 15 is the “great resurrection chapter of the Bible.” It’s worth it to just remember that for future reference. (You can use it to impress your friends.)

Begin to dissect these verses by identifying as many pairs of concepts (there are several) as you can.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Answer these questions, having read through those verses:

  1. Verses 56 and 57 are a pair unto themselves. What’s the contrast between them? 
  2. What is “the law?” How would you define it in your own words?
  3. Who is associated with the first concept in each pair listed?
  4. Who is associated with the second concept?
Learn Perspective
To find out if death or Christ is worth respecting,
compare their records.
Let’s remember those who have died, using Christ’s perspective on death.
The Serve Highlight for this series (which is the video posted below) serves as an In Memoriam to those who have died over the last year (from April 2020-April 2021). The purpose of this video is to put a victorious perspective on death up next to the reality of death

Now, take a few minutes to consider and pray about anyone you may lost.

Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Serve Perspective
The simple ideas of resurrection and life
crush death’s influence.
Create and display your very own Resurrection sign. 🥚
Two Zoom Easters. Who’d’ve imagined it? (God did, I suppose.)

There’s so much to be grateful for—at this time last year, Illume didn’t exist, and there had been two Spotlights… ever. Look where God has brought us. Times are wild, they are up and down, but here’s the good news: the love and hope of the resurrection is meant for every moment. Let’s celebrate being together and getting to think about this by…

  • Grabbing a piece of paper and something to write/decorate with,
  • writing 2–5 words of praise/celebration/comfort/excitement/hope based on Jesus victory, and
  • holding them up to the screen for some Easter screenshots. 

Meditate and enjoy this animation—the resurrection means so much!
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective
It’s okay if you reassess respecting death
because Jesus rose.
Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.

Tap on the buttons in the frame below to see what’s currently happening at Illume—information on everything from current and upcoming online content to live events and opportunities to serve in the community can all be found here.                          

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