Reflections: Monday of the 16th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 4:1-20; Matthew 7:13-29

And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” (1 Kings 17:20)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We have yet another confrontation with death. Once again, death has taken the only son of a widow. The parallels between this story and yesterday’s Gospel lesson are apparent to all. Still, more important are the differences!

This time the prophet Elijah is confronted by death. He behaves quite differently than Jesus, doesn’t he? Jesus was so calm, but Elijah freaks out. He cries out to the Lord and in a dramatic show stretches himself out on the boy three times. I think that Elijah is quite aware that he is not death’s equal. No, death has him beat. Like all mortals, Elijah lives beneath the reign of death. The only one who can beat something as great as death is Yahweh, the One who gave man life in the first place. So, Elijah throws himself at God’s mercy.

Another thing: Elijah comes very close to blaming God for the boy’s death. In verse 20, he says, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” Obviously, there is truth in these words. God is the sovereign Lord, who kills and makes alive. Certainly, He permitted the boy to die. Still, I think Elijah feels that God has forsaken this family.

We react the same way to death. Whenever we see death, we conclude that God has sent the Grim Reaper to destroy us. We think that death is a sign that God has forsaken us. We must remember that Jesus became a curse for us on the Cross (Galatians 3:13). He was forsaken by His Father (Matthew 27:46). Therefore, we can be sure that God is not against us. He won’t forsake us. Indeed, Jesus suffered death, so that He might conquer the grave.

Death is a defeated enemy, forced to serve us. The Christian doesn’t fear death, knowing that his death brings his soul into the presence of Jesus. Eventually, death must release our bodies. On the Last Day, we will be resurrected, and soul and body will be reunited. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

For me to live is Jesus, To die is gain for me; So when my Savior pleases, I meet death willingly. (“For Me to Live Is Jesus” LSB 742, st.1)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.