June 5, 2016
Luke 7:11-17. . . . 11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Both our Old Testament Lesson and Gospel Lesson for this morning speak of people being raised from the dead. One is done through the work of Elijah, and the other through Jesus. You know, we read through all the different Bible stories, we see the events that happen in them, and oftentimes we wonder what the reasoning behind it is. What does it mean? More importantly, what does it mean to us?
Going through our lessons for this morning, I was racking my brains for an answer to this question. What does the raising of the dead mean for us? How could I give you all a plausible explanation besides the simple one of these stories just showing how powerful God is? I mean, it’s not like we can actually apply this to our own lives. It’s not like we, like the people in these passages are going to be raised from the dead. But then I realized, that’s exactly what will happen. These passages are more relevant to our lives than we ever could have known.
When we pass from this life, we will be raised up once more. It will be on that day when Jesus returns. We will be raised up and placed before the judgment seat. There, we will give account of our lives and be counted among either the sheep or the goats. So the question must come to mind, “What will my account be?” The answer is given in our Gospel lesson. It is one of the responses the crowd gives when Jesus raises the young man from the dead. They proclaim, “God has visited his people!”
You know what answers do not work? They are answers such as, “I gave money to the guy at the corner,” or, “I helped this family repair their house,” or I did this or I did that. As long as that sentence starts with the word “I”, it is wrong. If God is not the reason, it is wrong. The answer to our accountability is quite simple. It is Jesus. Jesus visited his people. Jesus came to save us. Jesus died on that cross for our sins. Jesus was resurrected from the dead for our sakes. We are save because of 1 word, Jesus.
If Jesus is not your answer, make it so. Remember that it is because of him that we are saved. And what wonderful news this is. Throughout our lives, we have already, or we will deal with death in our lives. It has become part of the natural order of things because of sin. But take comfort in the fact that it is not the end. As long as that person had or has Jesus as that focal point and as their savior, then they truly are saved. We can take comfort in that.
Being raised from the dead is not something that only happens in the past. It is something for our futures. This is our future that is in Christ. He has made it so. On that last day, we will be raised in our new heavenly bodies, and when we will be asked to give an account of our lives, only 1 word will we need to speak. That will be the name of our Lord and Savior, who makes our salvation guaranteed. Now let’s all speak this 1 word together, “Jesus”. Amen.