Reflections: Easter Monday

April 1, 2024 

Today’s Reading: Luke 24:13-35, 36-49

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 15:1-18, Hebrews 9:1-28

And He said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. (Luke 24:17)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yesterday, we heard that Jesus has conquered death by His resurrection. That’s good news for us. We no longer need to be afraid when we face death. But how do things change when it’s someone we care about who dies? The harsh reality is that everyone dies, because that’s the wages of sin. Even our loved ones die, whether that ’s today, or a day down the road. And that day hurts so badly that we often don’t know what to do next. Death is our enemy. Death is what attacks us like this. And on our own we have no defense. Sad feels like too light a word to describe what Cleopas and his friend were enduring. Sad is too light a word when we are grieving.

But Jesus doesn’t leave us alone when death comes near. He joins us on the road. He weeps with us (John 11:35). He comforts us (John 14:27). And He does something about it. Jesus enters into death in our place. Jesus dies for our sins. So that on the third day, Jesus’s resurrection would be an end to death, and a promise of our resurrection, and the resurrection of those we love in the faith unto eternal life. 

But that promise isn’t just for sometime down the road. It’s also for today. What does Jesus do with Cleopas and the other disciple? “He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.” If those words sound familiar, they should. It’s the same language used in the Words of Institution at the Lord’s Supper. Many Churches have communion rails that are in the shape of a semicircle. It’s that way for a reason. When we receive the Lord’s Body and Blood, we do so with the whole Church. Not just the whole Church on earth. But all those who have died in the faith as well. We are with them even now, gathered around the rail, receiving Jesus. Jesus comforts us in our grief, both now, and in the hope of the resurrection.

Death will still try its hardest to be our enemy in this world. Its attacks still hurt more than we can bear. But not even death can stop Jesus from bringing His resurrection and His hope to us, through His Word, through His baptism, and through His body and blood. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Who are you who joins our journey,  Walking with us stride by stride?  Unknown Stranger, can You fathom  Depths of grief for one who died? Then the wonder! When we told You  How our dreams to dust have turned, Then You opened wide the Scriptures  Till our hearts within us burned.  (LSB 476:2)

– Pastor Eli Davis is pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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