Harry Houdini's name is one that is recognized by almost everyone. His claim to fame was that he was a magician and an excellent escape artist. He would free himself from handcuffs, chains, ropes and straitjackets, often while hanging from a rope or suspended in water. He escaped from coffins, riveted boilers and canvas bags. Houdini was even locked inside a high security prison but, of course, Houdini always got out.
But then on October 24, 1926, death laid its hands on Harry Houdini and he would never escape. Houdini had told his wife, Bess, prior to his death, "If there is any way out. I will find it. If there is any way out, I will find you and I will make contact with you on the anniversary of my death."
For ten years after Houdini's death, his wife tried to make contact with him. Then, she finally acknowledged, "Houdini did not come through. My last hope is gone. I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me, or to anyone...The Houdini Shrine has burned for ten years. I now, reverently... turn out the light. It is finished. Good night, Harry!"
Bess Houdini was so right, and yet she was so wrong. She was right to admit what people have been forced to admit for centuries -- we do not have the power to conquer death. Not even the famous Harry Houdini. Eventually death will win the battle over each and every one of us, and there is no escape.
But Bess Houdini was oh so wrong when she said, "My last hope is gone." For while none of us can escape death, we can find our hope in the one who overcame death. Only one man has come back from the grave alive. Only one man offers us hope of life beyond the grave. His name is Jesus.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you." (I Peter 1:3-4)
Turn the light back on. It isn't finished at all.......it's only just beginning!