Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 31:30 – 32:27; Matthew 20:1-16
“According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It's a fact of history. It really happened. My question for you: so what? So what if some guy who lived 2,000 years ago died and rose again from the dead? What difference does it make to me if this 30-something son of a carpenter was executed by the Roman Empire and then rose from the dead? Why should I care if He came back to life? Good for Him! What good does it do me?
The answer would be, “none,” if Jesus only rose from the dead for Himself, but our reading tells us that God has given us new birth “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” His resurrection means something for us; it makes a difference for you and for me.
Jesus' resurrection gives us rebirth into a living hope. What is this hope? It is the hope that God gives us by His promise to raise us from the dead just like Christ was raised from the dead. What a promise, indeed! We all die; that is evident from the world around us. We're not stupid. We know we will die someday, but unlike everyone else, we Christians know that we will someday rise again from the dead.
Jesus didn't die by Himself or rise again by Himself; we died with Him and will also rise again with Him, a reality we enjoy now by faith and the waters of Holy Baptism. That's what your baptism has done: killed you with Jesus and buried you with Him. That's what your baptism has promised you and delivered to you by faith: resurrection with Jesus. “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) And that newness of life is not just for this life. It is spiritual life as holy people, forgiven of our sins, but it is something more, too. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his,” (and we have, in baptism) “we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His” (that is the living hope we are still waiting for in its fullness) (Romans 6:5).
This is the living hope of every Christian, the faith of our fathers, the confession of our Church: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.” (Nicene Creed)
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.