"A New Building"
July 7, 2009
For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1
St Paul has been found. At least part of him has been found.
On June 20th, the world heard that a white marble sarcophagus had been uncovered from beneath the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome. More importantly, that casket still contained some bones.
That, for many folks, was an important bit of information. Why? For a great many centuries tradition has claimed that St. Paul, who was beheaded in the 1st century, had been buried at this location -- at least most of him.
His head is supposed to be at another Roman basilica, St. John Lateran.
This takes us to the point in this devotion when you're probably wondering, "Pastor, are these really the bones of the apostle to the gentiles?"
Let me tell you that I do not know.
Scientific tests have been run on the bones and those tests say the remains date from the 1st or 2nd century. And there is that matter of a long tradition regarding this. But when all is said and done, the answer will still have to be that we do not know.
I do know, if St. Paul were given the opportunity to come back and talk to us for a few minutes, he'd probably tell us it doesn't matter if those bones are his or not. But wait, St. Paul has already told us exactly that. Our text for today tells us that when our earthly bodies go, it's all right.
Because of faith in Jesus Christ, because we believe He has ransomed us from sin, death, and the devil, we know the grave is not our final resting place. Because of the Christ's victorious third-day resurrection, we know that we, too, shall rise and be given a glorified body.
On that day when Jesus returns in judgment, those who have been given faith in the Redeemer will receive a building -- a body from God that will last forever.
That news was a comfort for those early Christians who buried Peter, Paul, and so many of the Lord's martyrs. It is a comfort to us as well. Christians in every age are blessed to know the Savior has won the victory and the sting of death is spent.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because Jesus lives, we know we shall live also. May I look forward to a reunion with Paul and all others who are asleep in the Lord. May I await that moment when Jesus will allow our eternity of joy to begin. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries