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We look forward to the Resurrection

Luke 7:11-16

Pastor David Ernst

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Oct 1, 2017 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Both the Old and New Testaments are full of stories of wonders. Things we can not understand or explain: healing of the sick, people speaking in unknown languages, visions of heaven and apparitions of angels. Above all, as in our text for today, when the Lord restored the life of one deceased.

Today the Pentecostals say that the evidence of the Holy Spirit among them is the speaking of tongues, the healing of the sick and the like. However, Pentecostals do not seek to restore the lives of the dead.

The episode of Nain's widow occurred early in the public ministry of Jesus, after His baptism, temptation in the desert and His calling of the first disciples. But it was not the last time that the Lord revived the dead. Also, the daughter of Jairo and the most known case, Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany. In the case of Lazarus, very late in the ministry of Jesus, He raised him from the dead after four days in the tomb. In the first cases, perhaps one might doubt whether they were truly dead (though the inspired Scriptures say they were dead), but in the case of Lazarus, no. Therefore, Jesus' enemies began to plan the murder of Jesus because He was too dangerous in His power.

But, not only Jesus revived the dead. In our reading of the Old Testament (1 Kings 17: 17-24), the prophet Elijah revived the son of the widow of Zarephath. In addition, in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter revived the woman, Dorcas (Acts 9; 36-42) and Saint Paul revived the young man called Eutychus (Acts 20: 9-12)

The pattern found in the Bible is that the new revelations of God were accompanied by signs and miracles to assure people that the words of the prophets in the Old Testament and those of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament were the Word of God . As the widow of Zarephath said to Elijah, "Now I know that thou art a man of God, and the word of the Lord is truth in thy mouth."

Today we do not need more signs and wonders because we do not need a new revelation. All we have to know for salvation is found in the Scriptures. The only prophecy has not fulfilled is the second coming of Christ to judge the nations. Those who teach false doctrines try to do miracles, but they are as false as the doctrine.

Jesus, therefore, restored the son of Nain's widow to show the truth of His Word, but also to show the mercy of God. The son was the only one left to help his mother.

But what happened to the son of Nain's widow, also to the widow of Zarephath, the daughter of Jairus, Dorcas, and Eutychus? They are not with us, but with God. This is the difference between the revival of some people in the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those people received another opportunity to serve others in this world, but only for a while. They also received the promise of eternal life because of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus resurrected on the third day, he did not rise for a while, but forever. Jesus conquered death on the cross, and therefore we can live forever with Him. As sinners, we have to suffer physical death. But death has no power over us, because we have the hope of eternal life. And we do not fear the final judgment. All will be resurrected on the final day to be judged by God. Those who trust in the grace of God will pass into eternal life, not by their own works, but by faith in Christ. Those who reject the grace of God will pass into eternal fire. Because the promise of God is secure, we are not afraid of judgment.

Let's consider the symbolism of our text. Jesus, on the way, found a mother who lost her son. Perhaps the son lived again for more years than his mother. On the other hand, the Virgin Mary, also lost her only son, after the announcement of the angel and the events of Christmas. We may suppose that Mary's sadness was more than widow of Nain. However, what more joy when her Son, Jesus, rose from the dead forever.

This is our joy as well. It is difficult to lose our friends and family by death, but we anticipate eternal life with them in Christ. Our text is evidence of the mercy of God, sometimes found in this life, but, certainly beyond this world, in the new creation with Christ. This is hope and peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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