Sunday, April 11, 2010
Easter 2 Quasimodo Geniti Ezekiel 37:1-14
And the hand of Yahweh was upon me and He brought me out in the Spirit of Yahweh and He set me down in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones...and look, they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of Adam, may these bones live?" And I said, "Lord Yahweh, You know." And He said to me, "Prophesy on these bones and say to them, ‘Bones of dryness, hear the Word of Yahweh!' So says Lord Yahweh to these bones, ‘Look I Myself will cause to come into you breath, and you may live! ...and you will know that I, Myself am Yahweh." And I prophesied as which I was ordered, and there was a voice as I prophesied, and look–shaking, and joined together bone to bone. And I saw, and look, on them sinews, and flesh came up, and skin on them again from above; yet there was no breath in them. And He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy son of Adam, and say to the breath, ‘So says Lord Yahweh, "From the four winds come, breath, and breathe on these slain, and they may live."' And I prophesied as which I was ordered, and came into them the breath, and they were made to live, and they stood on their feet, an army, very, very great!
One important Easter fact to remember: God and Life are inseparable! Death cannot win, where God is concerned. Oh, that doesn't mean that God doesn't permit death. He does. He even embraced it for Himself at the cross. But though death may come, it is never the end of the story. Some of your loved ones have died. You may soon die yourself. But that's nothing final. For God and Life are always together. If anyone dies in Christ, he or she still lives! Just as Jesus died, yet rose and still lives on!
Back in the days of the Babylonian captivity, it seemed like all hope was lost for the Israelites. Nebuchadnezzar's armies had flattened the walls of Jerusalem, demolished their temple, and took them captive in Babylon. There they faced lions' dens, fiery furnaces, and threat of utter annihilation. It surely looked like death, not life, would win the day. They surely felt like they were already dead, nothing but dry bone carcasses in the hot Middle Eastern sun. But they weren't dead yet!
The Lord Yahweh would rescue them from Babylon, save them from their captors, and return them to the land of Israel once more. In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, God did just that for His people. But that was only part of the promise of Ezekiel's prophesy to the dry bones. Sure, they got to go back to the earthly promised land, but eventually they did still die, and nothing but their bones were left in their graves. The Lord Yahweh had one more rescue in mind for them...and for you too!
Fast forward to the week after Jesus rose from death to life again. Doubting Thomas doesn't believe it could be true. Sure, Jesus had saved others by raising them from the dead, but now that Jesus Himself had died, who would raise Him? Surely a dead Savior can't raise Himself to life...or can he?! God and life are inseparable, remember... The very Jesus Who was crucified and buried indeed did raise Himself to life again, and showed himself to His disciples, including no-longer-doubting Thomas.
Though death was necessary for the saving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in your place, death did not get the last laugh. Jesus raised His body, and descended with it into hell to spoil whatever evil "God is dead" party Satan was hosting there. Then He showed it to His disciples as proof positive that His death at Calvary had indeed conquered death, once and for all. He made resurrection appearances to hundreds of believers to show them that there is nothing at all to fear in death any longer!
God and Life cannot be separated, even today! That's why, when you gather round the Lord's Table to eat Jesus' body given and to drink His shed blood, you know that your God Jesus is there to bless you. And you are not cannibals, eating dead food, but it is the risen Lord Jesus who comes down to feed you at Holy Communion. His ever-living body is given to you, and life-giving blood is yours! Your God is there, breathing His breath of life on you in the forgiveness He brings in this sacrament of life!
Where God is, there life is as well! Where God comes down in the waters and words of baptism to cleanse you of your sin and its wages of death, there the ever-living Jesus is to give you life everlasting! Where God's word is taught in its truth and purity, and where His gospel is preached as your Savior's unending love for you from Calvary, there too is Jesus, proclaiming life eternal to you! Where the body and blood of your living Redeemer come to you in the Sacrament of the Altar, there life is for you!
God and Life are never separated for you! Even in God's death for you at the cross, you receive the riches of Jesus victory over sin, Satan, and death there–the gift of life eternal purchased in full for you there!
Hymns from LSB:
#726 Evening and Morning
#470 O Sons and Daughters of The King music stanzas
#467 Awake My Heart with Gladness