April 6, 2009
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22
Years ago, tourists to the Fiji Islands returned home speaking of a strange native custom: the custom that was known as 'the calling of the dead.'
When someone had lost a loved one, he was encouraged to climb to the top of a high tree or a cliff. From that lofty spot, a spot where his voice would carry a long distance, he would call out the name of the deceased.
Then, as loudly as possible, he would yell, "Come back! Come back!"
You will not be surprised if I tell you there was never any record of a dead individual responding to the sorry summons. Indeed, the only reply that was ever heard was the mocking of an empty echo that came back again and again.
Eventually, and at long last, the disappointed and forlorn mourner was forced to return to his village. There, with his plea unanswered, he would try to pick up his life and continue on.
In stark contrast to that lonely picture is the joy that is given by the risen Redeemer to all who believe on Him. Through Christ's perfect life, His suffering, His death and resurrection the chains of sin are shattered and death no longer has a final victory.
Yes, believers mourn, but they are spared the despair that rules in the hearts of those who have no hope. Yes, we suffer heartache when a dear one goes to rest, but we know, because of Jesus' third-day victory, our pain is of short duration.
Because of the Savior's resurrection we know that in Christ all will be made alive.
Which is why, for us, the native's plaintive call, "Come back!" has been replaced by the Easter shout, "Christ is risen and because of Christ all believers shall be made alive."
"Christ is risen." "He is risen, indeed!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for sparing me the total desolation and depression that once accompanied death, my heartfelt thanks. Because You sent Your Son to suffer and die in my place, I have been forgiven and saved. Now, I ask You to send Your Holy Spirit upon those who do not know what Your grace has done. Let them believe so they may be given the knowledge that death's reign is over. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries