#DailyDevotion Your Savior Comes To You Humbly

#DailyDevotion Your Savior Comes To You Humbly

John 1212The next day the large crowd that had come to the festival and heard, “Jesus is coming to Jerusalem,” 13took branches from the palm trees and went out to meet Him, shouting: “Our Savior! Blessed is He Who is coming in the Lord’s name, the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15“Don’t be afraid, daughter of Zion! Look! Your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt!” 16At the time His disciples didn’t know what it meant, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about Him and were done to Him. 17The people who had been with Him when He called Lazarus out of the grave and raised him from the dead were telling what they had seen. 18Because the crowd heard He had done this miracle, it came to meet Him. 19Then the Pharisees said to one another, “You see, you’re not getting anywhere. Look! The world is running after him.”

Well we see a couple of things happening in this passage. The news of Lazarus from the dead had reached Jerusalem. It was near the festival of Passover and there were lots of Jews in town for that. Many were eagerly expecting the Messiah to show up at any time. Passover would be a great time for that and could you have a better Messiah than one that can raise the dead?

So when people heard Jesus was coming, they went out to greet him in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. They greeted Jesus with “Our Savior! Blessed is He Who is coming in the Lord’s name, the King of Israel” We sing in our service Hosanna; that is our savior or save us. They were looking to Jesus to save them from the Romans. We are looking for Jesus to save us from our sins. Jesus comes in the Lord’s name, indeed he is the very LORD in the flesh. They were looking for the King of Israel i.e. a son of David. What they get is the true King of Israel, the LORD, the God of Israel and one who is a son of David. The Holy Spirit came upon them to sing these praises. If the people did not sing these praises the stones would have cried them out instead.

As I said we join in the crowd singing this song in our liturgy as we prepare to receive the Lord’s Supper. It is a quite fitting hymn at this point. While Jesus most certainly is with us as we gather in his name he is coming to us in the Supper in a very special way. He is coming to us with his presence in his body and his blood. Just as he entered Jerusalem humbly on a donkey’s colt he comes to us humbly with the earthly elements of bread and wine. Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to save the people by shedding his body and blood upon the cross and to institute the New Covenant spoken of by Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Here in the Lord’s supper we receive the benefits and the sacrifice of that New Covenant, Jesus’ body and blood, forgiveness of sins, and life and salvation.

This entrance and the people following him and singing his praises sets into motion the plan to kill our Lord by the Jewish leaders but they are doing what God the Father had planned before the foundation of the world, to sacrifice the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.

Gracious and kind Father, you sent your son, our savior, the King of Israel humbly to be sacrificed for us. Grant us faith in his sacrifice and in his name that we may be made partakers of the New Covenant to eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is YHWH, Yahweh In The Flesh

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is YHWH, Yahweh In The Flesh

Phil. 49That is why God also exalted Him up on high and gave Him the name above every other name 10that at the name of JESUS everyone in heaven and on earth and under the earth should kneel, lland everyone should confess, “JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!” and so glorify God the Father.

As Jesus humbled himself to death, even the death of a cross, the Father also exalted him to his right hand high about every other name. There is no other name in heaven above, on earth or below the earth we should turn to. Jesus is the one the Father hears. It is as Isaiah says, 4522“Turn to Me to be saved, all you most distant parts of the world, because I am God, and there is no other. 23I swear by Myself; what I say is right and can’t be changed: ‘Every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will swear allegiance.’ 24‘Only in the LORD,’ one will say, ‘have I righteousness and strength.’” Paul points us to Jesus as the LORD this applies to.

In Isaiah 45 in particular, the LORD is letting his people know there is no hope, no salvation, no righteousness, no redemption but in him alone. All other hopes, props, idols, gods, princes, powers and the like are all posers. There is no God but the LORD. Paul is letting us know that Jesus is that LORD.  Now LORD is the personal name of God to the Israelites. It is the Hebrew YHWH or Yahweh or Jehovah (applying the vowel point for adonai (lord))over the Hebrew consonants for YHWH). Wherever you see in the Old Testament LORD in all caps that is YHWH. In some places you will see Sovereign LORD or Lord GOD. LORD and GOD in those cases is YHWH. Sovereign and Lord there are Adonai (lord).

Now here is the biggie, every one will kneel at the name of Jesus and confess Jesus Christ is LORD.  Paul says 1 Cor. 12:3 “no one is able to say, ‘Jesus is the Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit.” When Paul says this he is not only saying Jesus is the Lord i.e. rule, king, sovereign of my life (though those things are true) but that he is the Old Testament LORD, i.e. YHWH, LORD. Plenty of heretics can claim Jesus is Lord i.e. ruler, sovereign, king. But because they do not have the Holy Spirit they cannot confess him as YHWH, the God of the Israelites in the flesh. Only true Christians who have the Spirit can confess and believe Jesus is YHWH, LORD, in the flesh, crucified, dead, buried, risen and ascended to the right hand of the Father.

On the Last Day, every knee of every creature, every angel and fallen angel, every Christian and unbeliever, indeed all of creation will bow down and confess Jesus is LORD. Not all because they want to, nor because they have the Holy Spirit but because the One holding the rod of iron will make them. Thankfully we confess it now and will with joy then.

What does this mean? It means, as Isaiah prophecies, only in Jesus do we have righteousness and strength. It means you can replace LORD with Jesus as you read the Old Testament. It means you can replace most of the Lords in the New Testament with LORD or YHWH. In Jesus Christ alone is there salvation and he offers it to free to all from the throne of God. Not only that, but all who believe in him, because he bore and bears our flesh at the right hand of God, will sit where he sits as gives us his glory now and on the Last Day.

Almighty God and Father, you sent your Son Jesus Christ, who is YHWH into the flesh that we may receive from him righteousness and strength. Grant us faith and your Spirit to confess Jesus is LORD to your glory and honor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Think How Christ Jesus Thought.

#DailyDevotion Think How Christ Jesus Thought.

Philippians 25Think just as Christ Jesus thought: 6Although He was God, He did not consider His being equal with God as a prize to be displayed, 7but He emptied Himself, made Himself a slave, became like other human beings, 8and was seen to have the ways of a man. He became obedient and humbled Himself until He died, yes, died on a cross.

This might be a little hard for us, no rather impossible for us apart from the Holy Spirit. Paul directs the Philippians to think as Christ Jesus thought. Now you have to remember who these people were. Philippi was basically a Roman soldier retirement community. These were men with their families who earned their Roman citizenship by fighting for one of the best trained fighting forces in the world at that time: think US Marines, Special Forces, the whole blessed US Military of today. These were not people who normally would be thinking as Christ thought.

And how did Christ think? “6Although He was God, He did not consider His being equal with God as a prize to be displayed.” Now here is one of the most clear passages of Scripture that Jesus is God. It is so clear that some ‘scholars’ don’t believe it was original to Paul—people who think the teaching of Jesus’ divinity is some late church development. This blown out of the water by the fact that Paul seems to be quoting some early Christian hymn here in verses 6-8 which means it is even earlier than Paul’s writing. Jesus is God. Yet in his thinking he did not during his visible ministry think it something to be displayed. In fact, Jesus in his speaking always referred back to the Father when discussing his power while still claiming a unity with the Father. Only on the mount of Transfiguration did Jesus display his glory.

How did Jesus think? Paul says, “7but He emptied Himself, made Himself a slave, became like other human beings,…” Not something an ancient Roman soldier would do for sure. If he had power he would use it and display it. Jesus however did not come to rule during his earthly ministry but to serve; indeed he became the servant of all. He didn’t magically grow up like some alien implanted kid in the movies. He took nine months to come out of the womb. He grew up and learned like other kids. He submitted himself to the authority of Joseph and Mary. All this he did while actually being their Maker. Jesus even submitted himself to earthly authorities.

How did Jesus think? “He became obedient and humbled Himself until He died, yes, died on a cross.” Jesus was obedient to God the Father. He humbled himself to God the Father. This Jesus did to the point of death even death on the cross. Yes, he prayed if there was another way to save everyone let’s do it he also said, “not my will but yours be done.” Death by crucifixion was the lowest of the low in Jesus’ day. Jesus, although he was God, and is God, submitted himself to death on a cross. The One who was exalted on high went to the lowest depths to save us. He humbled himself to save all humanity, to save you.

If Jesus, who is God, would humble himself in this way to save his enemies from eternal death, in particularly you, how should you act? How should you think? By the power of the Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ, you are to think of others having greater honor than yourself. You should think about how you can be of service to other people, particularly your enemies.

Almighty God and Father, you son Jesus Christ humbled himself to save us. Grant us such humility that we may be of service to our fellows. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Listens To The Father. Will You Listen To Jesus?

#DailyDevotion Jesus Listens To The Father. Will You Listen To Jesus?

Isaiah 504The Lord GOD gives Me the speech of the learned, so that I know how to talk to encourage the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me to hear, so I will listen like a learner. 5The Lord GOD opened My ears, and I didn’t resist or turn away. 6I gave My back to those who strike it and My cheeks to those who pluck the hair out of My beard. I haven’t turned My face away from those who insult Me and spit on Me. 7The Lord GOD helps Me; this is why I’m not overcome with shame. So I’ve set My face like a flint; I know I’ll not be shamed, 8because He is near Who justifies Me. Does anyone want to argue with Me? Let us confront each other. Will anyone oppose Me in this case? Let him come near Me. 9 See, the Lord God helps Me; Who then will condemn Me?

Such is the Old Testament reading for the Sunday of the Passion. It is quite appropriate as one heads into Holy Week. The first couple of verses open our eyes into the life of our LORD Jesus Christ. Jesus said several times, mostly in John, he does not say anything other than what the Father had given him to say. Thus Isaiah’s prophesy is fulfilled, “The Lord GOD gives Me the speech of the learned, so that I know how to talk to encourage the weary.” We should note that when English translations use “Lord GOD” the Hebrew behind that is “Lord Yahweh”: Yahweh being the personal name of God given to the Israelites and Lord designating that he is in control of everything.

The Father opened Jesus’ ears to hear his plan of salvation for the world and the people he created and Jesus did not resist or run away. In the Gospel lessons during Lent we often hear Jesus telling his disciples that he would be rejected by the Jewish rulers, he would suffer and die and on the third day rise again. Even Moses and Elijah told Jesus as much on the mount of Transfiguration. This text from Isaiah opens our minds a bit to what Jesus was heading for and what he would experience in Jerusalem on Good Friday. The Gospel accounts how Jesus was flogged, by Pilate’s men and by Herod’s men. Jesus did not turn his back away from this. They tell how the Jewish rulers and their guards abused Jesus in their courts. They insulted him and spit on him. The Roman guards also pummeled Jesus, insulted him and spit on him. The Jewish crowds incited by the Jewish leaders did similarly.

Yet in all this Jesus knew this was going to happen to him. The Father had directed him to it to redeem mankind. Jesus knew in the end the Father helps him. He would not be overcome with the shame that set upon him by his enemies (whom he was redeeming). With such confidence in the Father Jesus set his face like flint and went headlong into fray. The Father would justify Jesus on the third day by raising him from the dead. Jesus calls upon us all to reason with him and to argue with him. Is he the Messiah, the suffering servant of the LORD?  Who else has the Father raised from the dead never to die again because he was sinless? Who can condemn Jesus as he is risen from the dead?

Set your face on Jesus who endured the scorn and shame. When persecution comes set your face like a flint knowing Jesus will never leave you or abandon you. He will justify your faith in him as you are raised from the dead as he was. Open your ears and listen to him and do what he says.

Almighty God and Father, you showed us Jesus, your Son, as our Messiah, the savior of the world through his suffering and resurrection. Grant us faith in him that we too may be justified in him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Death Is Unnatural, But There Is A Cure

#DailyDevotion Death Is Unnatural, But There Is A Cure

John 1141So they moved the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank You for hearing Me. 41I knew You always hear Me. But I spoke so that the people standing around Me will believe You sent Me.” 43After He had said this, He called out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The man who had been dead came out, his feet and hands wrapped in bandages and his face wrapped in a cloth. “Unwrap him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.” 45Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary and had seen what He did believed in Him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47Then the ruling priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council. “What are we doing?” they asked. “This man is doing many miracles. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything, 50 and you don’t consider it is better for you that one man dies instead of the people and the whole nation doesn’t perish.” 51 He didn’t think of this himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not only for this nation but also to bring God’s scattered children together and make them one.

You know I think practically every pastor at every funeral could look into the casket, call the person’s name and tell them to come out. Death is heart wrenching and unnatural. It is not meant to be. We die though because we sin. The wages of sin is death. Yet even the Resurrection and the Life who knows what he is about to do weeps at Lazarus’ grave. Precious in his sight is the death of his saints. St. Paul tells us he does not want us to grieve as those who have no hope: he doesn’t tell us not to grieve. Jesus believed the Father would listen to his voice and raise Lazarus his friend back from the dead. That Father did listen and Lazarus was raised from the dead. Lazarus would die again though, just like the widow’s son, the little girl and others he and the apostles would raise up at times to give authority to their message.

Even if the Holy Spirit gave me authority as a pastor to raise up the dead like he did the apostles, those people would still fall asleep again one day in Christ. Like Mary and Martha, we have to wait for the Last Day when Christ returns for all the dead in Christ to awaken from their graves, receive new immortal bodies and for us to be changed in an instant to be with them and the Lord in his kingdom here in the new heavens and new earth.

Now Lazarus was dead four days when Jesus came to the tomb. There was no doubt in anyone’s minds that he was already rotting away. Jesus raised him from the grave whole and complete. Such an act had a twofold effect on the Jews. Some believed on him. Many believed in Jesus because of this. Others, who could not deny what Jesus had done did not put their trust in him but rather sought to kill him because he posed a threat to their power under Roman dominion. The high priest in his office prophesies Jesus will die for the whole nation, indeed for the whole world. In his death Jesus swallows up death. He removes the curse of death for all who put their trust in him. Christians do not experience death because Jesus has experienced it for them. They live with the Lord until he returns in glory and raises them from the dead to live eternally with him. Do you believe this?

O kind and merciful Father, you listened to the voice of Jesus and raised Lazarus from the dead. Hear his voice again on the Last Day and have him raise us all who trust in him to eternal life and grant us this faith always. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Do You Believe You Will Never Die In Christ?

#DailyDevotion Do You Believe You Will Never Die In Christ?

John 1117When Jesus got there, He found that Lazarus had been in the grave four days already. 18Bethany was near Jerusalem, not quite two miles away, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 23“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her. 24“I know he’ll rise again,” Martha answered Him, “in the resurrection on the last day.” 25“I am the Resurrection and the Life,” Jesus said to her. “Anyone who believes in Me will live even if he dies. 26Yes, anyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe that?” 27“Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Christ, God’s Son, Who is coming into the world.”

When a love one dies many people often try to comfort us with true but perhaps we feel trite sayings and we dismiss them. We want to grieve. Martha may have felt that way when Jesus tells her, “Your brother will rise again.” Her response “I know he’ll rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” is an acknowledgment of that truth but comes off to me also a bit dismissive. She knows and believes Jesus could have healed her brother and he did not come but let her brother die. She loves Jesus but she doesn’t want to hear about what is going to happen on the last day. She misses her brother now. And people do need to grieve.

Then Jesus delivers a whopper, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me will live even if he dies. Yes, anyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe that?” Jesus is the Resurrection Martha is looking forward do and he is the Life which raises the dead. While the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the body they did not know yet that Jesus is the Resurrection. Yes it is his resurrection from the dead which is the cause of the bodily resurrection of all the dead on the Last Day. Jesus, like Lazarus, like all your loved ones is going to experience death. But he is also going to rise from the dead on the third day. Jesus’ resurrection is not like other people who were raised from the dead. All others die again. Jesus will never die again. Such is the resurrection he brings about on the Last Day. When he raises the dead on the Last Day everyone who believes in him will be raised to everlasting life, never to die again like him.

Verses 25 and 26 are always most comforting me and are the reason Christians do not say their loved ones are dead but have fallen asleep. Now pay attention. This is most important. When Adam sinned, he died the very moment that forbidden fruit touched his lips. He passed that death down to us. We are all conceived and born dead and merely wait for that mortality to meet its execution on the body when we breathe our last. Jesus says though that all who believes in him even if he dies (bodily) lives. If we have faith in Jesus our spirit which was dead when we were conceived is now made alive. Indeed, if we have faith in Jesus, Jesus says we will never die. Yes, if you have faith in Christ Jesus you will never die. Your body may die you do not. You do not experience death when you breathe your last and close your eyes. You have escaped death’s grip on you. It cannot harm you. When you breathe your last and close your eyes you are with the Lord Jesus Christ. You are still very much alive in him. You merely await to be called up out of the grave never to die again by Jesus.

O Resurrection and the Life, Jesus Christ, grant us such faith in you that we possess eternal life now, never to die but to await the resurrection and transformation of our bodies to be like your glorious body. In your name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Your Natural Self Cannot Please God

#DailyDevotion Your Natural Self Cannot Please God

Romans 86What the flesh thinks kills; what the spirit thinks gives life and peace. 7This is so because the fleshly mind hates God. It refuses to obey God’s Law because it can’t obey it. 8Those who are in the flesh can’t please God. 9You are not in the flesh but in the spirit if God’s Spirit lives in you. But anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ doesn’t belong to Him. 10But if Christ is in you, even though your bodies are dead because you were sinful, your spirits are alive because you are righteous. 11And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He Who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also make your dying bodies alive by His Spirit living in you.

This is some crazy stuff that goes against our fallen nature and can only be believed and known from Holy Scripture and by revelation of the Holy Spirit. What the flesh thinks kills. It kills because while it is only focused on the law of God it refuses to keep the law of God. Not only does the flesh refuse to keep the law of God it cannot obey the law of God. Those whose minds are only focused on the law of God break it and die because the one who sins dies. If you are in the flesh, i.e. you are only focused on the law, you cannot please God. Sin dwelling in your flesh as St. Paul says in chapter 7 uses the law to stir up your passions and rebellion and fight against God. The flesh hates God. But people won’t tell you that.  We all like to look like we love God—it’s religion we  really hate. Well that’s not true either. Those who walk according to the flesh love religion. They just hate the one true faith. Christians become atheist and join other religions because their minds have departed from Christ or never knew Christ. All they know is the law and well if that is what God is all about, they’d rather not have anything to do with him, i.e. the Christian God. Unfortunately for such poor souls, they are not really hearing about Christ either because Satan snatches the word from them or they simply cannot bear the truth of the one true faith or never really hear it–Jesus Christ is the only and  solely way of the Spirit.

The Spirit gives life and peace. The way of the Spirit gives life and peace because it is focused on what Jesus has done for us. When the Father has the word of Christ preached to us, namely we are sinners who are damned but Christ, the son of God, has redeemed us, ransomed us with his blood and freely gives us his life as a gift, he also gives us the Holy Spirit to believe it and receive the gift. The Holy Spirit has our minds focused on what Jesus did; he obeyed, he died, he rose again, and he ascended to the right hand of God for us. Such faith Jesus tells us many times in the gospel of John gives us eternal life. Believing Jesus and his word makes us pleasing to God the Father.

The faith God gives gives us the Holy Spirit and makes Christ dwell in us with his life. This faith declares us righteous and makes us righteous. The Spirit makes our spirits alive through this gift of faith. Yes, our bodies are dead because of sin but our spirits are alive, born from above through baptism and we have been made the temples of God. So now we do not fear the law or are driven to obedience by the law but rather delight in it and freely do what God commands because we believe the good news of Jesus Christ. Because the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in you, he also going to raise these dead bodies to immortal bodies on the Last Day.

Merciful God and Father, continually give us your Holy Spirit so our hearts are ever fixed on Jesus and by this faith be righteous and pleasing in your sight and have your peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Do You Walk According To Sin (Law) Or To Spirit (Gospel)?

#DailyDevotion Do You Walk According To Sin (Law) Or To Spirit (Gospel)?

Romans 8 So those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned. 2The rule of the Spirit, who gives life, has in Christ Jesus freed you from the rule of sin that kills. 3What the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do God has done by sending His Son to be like sinful flesh and to be a sacrifice for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh 4so that we who don’t follow the flesh but the spirit will be as righteous as the Law demands. 5Those who follow the flesh have their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who follow the spirit have their minds on the things of the spirit. 6What the flesh thinks kills; what the spirit thinks gives life and peace.

Now if you are a law based Christian you will completely mess this passage up. You will take walking according to the Spirit as obeying the law and walking according the flesh actively disobeying the law. In one sense you are correct, if you are a Christian, you will start obeying the law and if you are not a Christian you will be disobeying the law. But what Paul is talking about is ‘walking’ according to one or the other.

So we have this marvelous statement from St. Paul that believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned. This, this is the interpretive key, the verse that governs all that follows. For seven chapters Paul has been telling us we cannot be righteous by trying to fulfill the law. Good works do not make us righteous before God. We will not be justified by works of the law. No, we are solely and only justified before God through faith in Christ Jesus. It is only through the faith that trusts the promises of God that Jesus has justified the ungodly, sinners, weak persons, and his enemies by his death and blood that God counts us righteous.

So you see, if you are walking according to the flesh, you are walking according to the law. The law is the center of your faith and focus. Sure, you cannot do the law but that doesn’t stop you from thinking that is the basis of your standing before God. When the law is your walk, sin causes you to break it in many and imaginative ways. So then you break the law which is your way and focus and the rule of sin kills, for the one who sins dies.

The rule of the Spirit, walking according to the Spirit is the way, rule and walk of the Gospel. The Gospel in verse 3 tells us we could not do what the law demands because of the weakened flesh. We could not be righteous by walking according to law’s (sin’s) rule. Therefore God sent his son into the flesh to be a sacrifice for sin to condemn sin in the flesh. If you believe this then you walk according to the Spirit (gospel) and you are as righteous as the law demands. For faith in Christ is counted as righteousness.

The fleshly mind is focused on the law and sins stirs up all sorts of sinful ways to disobey that law. The spiritual mind is focused on the spirit, the good news of Jesus Christ. What the flesh thinks then bring sin, death and condemnation. What the spirit thinks brings life, peace and salvation. The Christian delights and joys in the law of God only because he knows that through faith in Christ that law cannot condemn him. He is righteous because of what Jesus has done.

Merciful, kind, forgiving Father, you sent Jesus into our sinful flesh to condemn sin in the flesh so all who believe in your son may be righteous before your through faith in him. Continually keep our hearts focused on the good news so we may do all that the law demands freely by grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion I Believe In The Resurrection

#DailyDevotion I Believe In The Resurrection

Ezekiel 37- 11“Son of man,” He said to me, “these bones are all the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, and we’ve lost all hope. We’re completely cut off.’ 12So prophesy and tell them, “The Lord GOD says this: I will open your graves and raise you out of them, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel. 13Then you will know I am the LORD when I open your graves and raise you out of your graves, O My people. 14I will put My Spirit in you so you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know I the LORD said it and I did it, says the LORD.’”

Every time we confess one of the Christian creeds we say, “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” While Jesus and the apostles certainly taught this, they weren’t making up something new. No, it was texts like this, in the Old Testament, they were teaching from.

The LORD says, “these are all the people of Israel.” They were in exile, cut off from the land. They had been slaughtered. The remnant felt there was no hope. The Lord, the God of Israel, had abandoned them. But the LORD did not abandon them. He was with them in the exile. He gave them this vision so they may have a hope for the future and to put their trust in him. The hope he gives them is the resurrection of the body, the receiving of the Holy Spirit and inheriting their own land, the new heavens and new earth.

We too at times may feel the LORD has abandoned us. He may feel as if there is no hope. Why should we go on, the LORD has forgotten us? This text here is for us too. For St. Paul says, Rom 9:8 “This means that it is not the children of the flesh(Jews) who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” (ESV) We who believe in Jesus Christ and that he is the LORD also are Israel according to the promise. When we come to faith in Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit and are given the gift of eternal life. We have this promise from Jesus, John 640“Yes, My Father wants everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him to have everlasting life, and He wants Me to raise him on the last day.”

It was told to Daniel 12 2And many sleeping in the ground will wake up, some to live forever and others to be ashamed and detested forever. 3And those who understand will shine like the light in the sky and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever.” The resurrection is the hope of the Christian. The Christian hope is not to be some spirit floating about in the heavens. Jesus redeemed humans, not angels. As he is risen bodily from the dead, never to die again, so too we will be raised to eternal life with new glorious bodies, but real bodies, like his resurrected body.

However, unlike the bodies we have now which are riddled with sin and moan and groan under the weight of the work God has given us to do all our days here, these new bodies will no longer be subject to sin. Work will no longer a drudge but a joy. We will no longer  toil as we do now. Creation is also renewed with us and will easily bear us its fruit.

Heavenly Father, grant to us such faith in Jesus Christ that we are raised to eternal life with him on the last day and receive the land promised to us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.