Reflections: September 28, 2020
Monday of the 16th Week after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
So she said to Elijah, "What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?" (1 Kings 17:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yep. A tragedy. The widow's son died. God must be mad at her. That's what she thinks. That's what we think. If something bad happens, we wonder, "What did I do?" That's how we think God works. That's pretty much how the world thinks God works, too, which is why most people say they don't believe in Him.
The Lord allows the woman's son to die so that Elijah can raise him from the dead. What seems a tragedy is for this woman an example of God's mercy and love in restoring her son. It's also a reminder that God will give His own Son into death for the purpose of raising you from the dead.
Death is guaranteed. Nobody gets out of it. It's going to catch you some day. Could be tomorrow. Could be years from now. One way or another, though, it will come. As we look around and those whom we love die, we wonder if God is angry. Did we do something to make Him mad? That's the thing about death: We know it happens. We can't do anything about it.
But Jesus dies so that He can rise. His death is the triumph over death. Without His resurrection, our own death would indeed just be an empty and sad event. But with Jesus' tomb being empty, we have the promise that our graves will be empty, too. In other words, Jesus rose so that you will rise. If He rose, you will rise. Death really isn't the last word.
This is the promise of your Baptism, in which you die with Christ the first time. That's right, you've already died, at the font. And you've already been raised from the dead, at the font. That way, when you fall asleep in Jesus someday, you will rise to new life forever. It has to happen that way because that's what Jesus accomplished.
Death does remind us of our sin because sin brought death. But Jesus' death and resurrection and our Baptism into Him are a greater truth and promise: that death is not the end, and it's not forever. 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, st. 4)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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