Friday of the Third-Last Week

Today's Reading: Job 14:1-6

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 33:1-22; Matthew 27:11-32

Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass. (Job 14:5)

In the Name + of Jesus. The world has the pattern down. Live and play like a kid. Go to school. Grow up. Get a job. Enjoy a nice retirement. It sounds like a good plan but who knows when death will hit? Maybe you know of someone who died in high school? Or died after a long life? Some people die suddenly and quickly. Others linger in illness. Some die young and tragically. Others fall peacefully asleep in Jesus. The fact is, and no one likes to think about it, that death can come at any time. Job reminds us that ultimately only the Lord knows how long we have.

But for Christians, death is a minor inconvenience! That's right. It may hurt. It may make us sad. But it's not the be-all end-all that the world makes it out to be. Jesus has defeated death, plain and simple. Sin leads to death. So He took our sins and died. But His resurrection on Easter means that our sins have been paid for and death no longer has any power.

There's a reason the Bible speaks of death as "falling asleep." When Jesus was going to raise a girl from the dead, He said that she was only "asleep" (Mark 5:39). People laughed at Him the way they laugh at Christians who believe in the resurrection of the body. The world thinks you're silly for believing such a ridiculous idea that there is life after death.

But Jesus' resurrection is at the center of the Christian faith. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then you won't either. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, your whole faith is silliness and nonsense. But Jesus did rise from the dead. In fact, Jesus knew something we don't: the hour of His death and how long He would be dead. He was taken by sinful men and put to death and rose the third day. Yet Jesus' death is no accident or out of His control. His death happened for you to save you.

St. Paul says that when you were baptized, you were baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection. And when Jesus comes again He promises to raise you once and for all. Your Baptism is His promise that He will do exactly that. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ! When I die, I leave all sadness To inherit paradise! Though I lie in dust and ashes Faith's assurance brightly flashes: Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine. (God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It, LSB 594:4)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.