Reflections: April 12, 2021
Monday of the Second Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. (Ezekiel 37:12)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. While the Old Testament teaches the resurrection of the flesh as we see in Job 19, Ezekiel 37 is not about the resurrection of the body, but it is about the renewal and "resurrection" of hope and vitality for living in faith. The powerful scene of the valley of dry bones describes the people of Israel in exile in Babylon before their liberation by the powerful Persian emperor and conqueror Cyrus the Great (as history knows him). But before Cyrus, God's people had lost their homeland, they were like slaves in a far-away land, and the confidence they once had as the people of God seemed like a distant memory. They had lost hope, so that they were full of dryness in spirit, and full of the feeling of death in their collective soul. That is why God describes His people here as a great valley of dry bones.
Have you ever felt dry? Have you ever lost hope? The psalmist proves to us that it is possible for a believer to feel this way. Psalm 32:3-4 says, "For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer." For us, though, we don't need any mere man, even a powerful mere man like Cyrus the Great, but only Jesus Christ, who is not a mere man, but the very Son of God!
This is how Jesus rescues us from our sinful exiles; this is how Jesus raises our "dry bones." "I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin" (Psalm 32:5). As Jesus keeps us in our baptismal grace, we are lifted up and renewed day by day. We are no longer exiles and slaves to sin, but we are released from bondage to sin and we have a new Master, the LORD of life who showers upon us new hope, and this hope does not disappoint nor put us to shame (Romans 5:5). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord God, heavenly Father, Your Son announced in the synagogue of His hometown of Nazareth that as the Messiah, His teaching and miracles demonstrated His presence in creation to release it from bondage and bring healing by making all things new. Give us faith to see that His teaching and miracles continue today in the healing medicine of Your Word and the Sacraments, which put to flight the diseases of our souls; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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