And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. (Matthew 9:23-24)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The crowds laughed at Jesus’ words. They jeered His words about death as sleep, here in Matthew 9, even as the crowds would later mock and jeer Him as He hung crucified on the cross. But to Jesus, death is no laughing matter. Death is cause for weeping. Death is the last enemy. And yet, for Jesus death is weaker than a Sunday afternoon nap.
This is why He raised this ruler’s daughter, to show the crowds, you, me, and the world that He holds the keys to death and Hades. To reveal that in His death and resurrection, we find our healing, our life, and our resurrection. To proclaim to all, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Think about how hard it can be to wake someone up from a good night’s rest. We might have to nudge their shoulder, call their name, or blast an air horn a few times before they wake up. Not so for Jesus. All it takes is one word: arise. “Arise,” Jesus said to that little girl. And she rose. “Arise,” He said to Lazarus. And he rose. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” And Jesus rose.
The same is true for you. In fact, in the watery grave of the font, you have already died and risen with Jesus. You daily die and rise with Him. And you will one day, by His grace, rise again from a death that will only seem but a moment’s sleep. For in Jesus, you are not dead; you are not even sleeping. You are alive in Jesus’ death and resurrection, now and forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. -Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz
You pressed through crowds to reach the child Whose limbs with death grew cold. “She is not dead; she only sleeps!” The weeping folk You told. And then You took her hand and called, “My child, I bid you rise!” She rose! And all stood round You, Lord, With awed and wond’ring eyes! (O Christ, Who Shared Our Mortal Life, LSB 552:6)