"Dealing with Death"
September 15, 2011
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. ... Jesus said, "Take away the stone." ... So they took away the stone. ... When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The man who had died came out. John 11:38a, 39a, 41a, 43, 44a
Christopher Redd was a grave digger in Grand Junction, Colorado.
No matter how you feel about the position of grave digger, one thing is clear: grave digging is steady work. Indeed, unless a good grave digger does something very foolish, he should keep his job almost indefinitely.
Doing something foolish -- that explains why Redd is looking for a new job.
You see, a local radio station was having a contest where people submitted videos of themselves. The winner of the contest would receive tickets to the music festival Rock Jam. Redd's video showed him dancing on a grave's burial vault while he mouthed words to a song. He pretended to be accompanying himself by playing his shovel like a guitar.
Does that explain why Redd is looking for work?
In stark contrast to Redd's graveside foolishness, Scripture shows us the Christ. Reading John's account, we see the deeply moved Savior approach the grave of His friend Lazarus, order the tomb to be opened and command Lazarus to rise. John tells us that "The man who had died came out."
Over the centuries, we humans have tried to deal with death and grave in all kinds of ways. We have tried to ignore it; we have tried to control and manipulate it. We have done our best to bribe death, negotiate with it and deny it. No matter what we do, death still stays in complete control.
Maybe I ought to say that differently. Death used to be in complete control. Because of Jesus' sinless life, because of the sacrifice He made upon the cross, because He carried our transgressions and paid the ransom price for our salvation death no longer is our master.
Because the Lord has risen from the dead, because He called from the grave Lazarus and others, we know that all who believe on Jesus as their Savior will someday also rise. Death and grave have lost their supremacy. Jesus lives and we shall do the same.
It's a happy, heady thought. It's news so good, it almost makes us want to go and dance on an empty grave.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Savior has died so I would not die eternally. Because of His sacrifice and resurrection victory, I know death and grave are no longer my enemy; they are my entryway into heaven. For this magnificent transformation may I always be grateful. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries