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. Death is a reminder that there is sin in the world―not surprising, since the punishment for disobeying God’s Word in the Garden of Eden was death. No wonder the woman cried out to Elijah! Her son was dead. Thanks for the reminder that she’s a sinner. That he’s a sinner. That they’re doomed to die.
But what was the purpose of that young man’s death? In this case it seemed to be to show her God’s grace when Elijah raised him from the dead. He died so that the widow would see God’s power in raising him from the dead.
Why does God permit death? Well, we already heard that it’s the punishment for our sins. But does God punish us just to teach us that we’re in trouble? No, there’s more, which points us to His mercy and salvation. God has afflicted us with death so that we learn to believe in the One man who can save us from death: God’s Son, who conquered death. Jesus dies so that we may know that He has truly taken on our sins. But He rises from the dead to show us that sin and death have been taken down and defeated.
Now, by the waters of Holy Baptism, the Lord puts that death and resurrection on you, and makes it yours so that in the face of real death, you can laugh at and defy it. Not only that but by Jesus’ Body and Blood, you have His promise that He will raise you up on the Last Day and give you eternal life. Death just simply cannot hold you. It cannot harm you. It cannot destroy you. It cannot separate you from God.
Sure, in this life, death is a sadness. But it is not the end. It is not even the reminder of sin anymore. Now it is the reminder that Christ is alive and you will be, too, when He comes again to give you eternal life. 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 594:4)