Reflections: November 19, 2020
Thursday of the Second-Last Week
By Aaron Fenker
When Joseph took the body, he wrapped it in a clean cloth and placed it in his new tomb that he cut in the rock, and after he rolled a great stone against the door of the tomb, he went away. (Matthew 27:59-60)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus really died. He was stone-cold dead. The Romans were good at that sort of thing. He was so dead they buried Him! In a stone tomb, Joseph of Arimathea's tomb. And what did Jesus do in that tomb? Well, nothing obviously. Duh! He was dead! But that's really the point. He didn't do anything. He rested. When the Lord created the universe in six days, He rested on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. So also Holy Week, where Jesus worked to secure and create a new creation--salvation. Jesus fulfilled all that He was supposed to do to save you--perfect life and innocent suffering and death. And now that He had done all of His work, He rested.
He was buried for you. He made the Sabbath holy in His burial for you. He rested for you. He gives you His rest. His rest from work. You don't have to work to save yourself. There's nothing left for you to do. Jesus did it all. He saved you, and you are saved by Him. His rest from work is your rest from work because He delivers His rest from work to you.
He delivers that to you in His Sabbath Gifts--His Baptism, His Absolution, His Gospel, His Supper. There Jesus' free salvation, His resting from working for salvation, is made yours, delivered right to you. And you receive it by faith alone in Christ alone. You are Sabbath-ed, rested in Jesus through His Gifts.
His tomb didn't stay empty. His body didn't stay dead. He was buried to save you from your burial, your grave, your death. He will give you an empty tomb, too. Your body won't stay dead, either. That's the promise of His grave and His resurrection. This promise is delivered in Holy Baptism where you were buried with Christ and also raised with Him.
Jesus was really dead. You will really die someday, too. But Jesus didn't stay dead. Neither will you! Jesus' rest shows you that. Jesus will raise you from the dead, just as He is risen from the dead. The promise of that is yours. You're baptized. 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. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, KS.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
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