September 19, 2008 - Friday of the 17th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 2:11-20; 4:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:1-15

So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 2:20)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Lord told Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple when His people came back from their captivity in Babylon. The government officials laughed at Nehemiah. They mocked him and ridiculed him and told him what a useless work that was. He would never succeed. The world mocks the Christian faith that way all the time. What a waste to get up on Sunday mornings and go to church. What a waste of time to read your Bible or go to Bible Class. What silly things to do! It won't amount to anything. It's just a foolish waste of time.

Let the world say what it wants. Jesus died on the cross. In fact, He died on a cross where men stood and mocked Him and told Him his plans would come to nothing. But Jesus didn't end up as a nothing and nobody. His death paid for the sins of the world, even for those who mocked and despised Him. His death brought down the Devil from his power over this world. His death destroyed even the power of death.

Nehemiah built the Temple and rebuilt Jerusalem. You can't keep God down. But even more importantly, a better Temple was raised up: Jesus' body. The Temple of His body was killed but it rose on the Third Day. The simple fact is, you can't keep the Lord down. When he gets it into His head to build His Temple, or rise from the dead, well, you just can't stop Him. Not Sanballat, the Governor. Not the Devil. Not Death. Not Hell. Nothing. When Jesus rises, those enemies fall.

Perhaps the world treats you badly as a Christian. Maybe just the daily grind of life is enough to wear you down. No worries. You've been washed. You've been fed with Jesus' Body and Blood. And if there's no enemy that can keep the Lord down, there's not enemy that can keep you down either, since you've got Jesus. They can try, but they've got to get through Him first. Not even Death can do it. That's just a nap for you, child of God. Nehemiah triumphed over his critics. Jesus triumphed over all His enemies. And now, in Christ, there is no enemy that can keep you down either. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

It was a strange and dreadful strife When life and death contended; The victory remained with life, The reign of death was ended. Holy Scripture plainly saith That death is swallowed up by death, Its sting is lost forever. Alleluia! (LSB 458:4)