Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
In Vienna, Austria, there is a church in which the Hapsburgs, the ruling family of that country, are buried.
For centuries it was customary for the funeral procession to be greeted with locked doors. When the royals knocked, so they might receive admittance, they heard a voice call out from behind the bolted vault doors: "Who is it that desires admission here?"
Depending on the rank of the deceased, a designated guard would call back. He would say something like "His apostolic majesty, the emperor!"
The voice from within the crypt would always respond, "I do not know him."
That was the signal for the people in the funeral procession to knock again.
Once more the voice behind the door would challenge: "Who is it that desires admission here?"
This time the guard who is serving as spokesman would call back: "The highest emperor!"
After a lengthy silence, the funeral procession would hear the faceless voice reply, "I do not know him."
That was the cue for a third, and final, knock to be made. As before, the voice demanded to know, "Who is it?"
This time the reply would be different. Only three words would be spoken by the guard; he would say, "A poor sinner."
Only then was the door opened and the royal burial completed.
I am willing to guess that most of us are not emperors who are going to be buried in a cathedral. Still, even though we have no grand rank or great social standing, we, like these Hapsburgs, shall someday die and our mourners will wend their ways to a cemetery or mausoleum.
On that day, what will give comfort to those we leave behind?
Truly, on that day there is only one thing that can provide peace to those who survive us. That one thing is their knowledge we have been washed of our sins by the Savior's bloody sacrifice, which was made 2,000 years ago on the cross of Calvary.
Because of the Savior's sacrifice and resurrection victory, because of Holy Spirit-given faith, believers can find solace that Jesus' victory is also theirs.
Because of what Jesus has done, all those who believe on Him as Savior know their death day will bring about a judgment wherein the Father will say, "I know you. You are My dear sons and daughters. Because of Jesus, you are forgiven, and I am pleased to welcome you into your heavenly home where tears and sorrow have been banished."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks my admission to heaven is guaranteed. Now may I do all I can to share the story of the Savior's victory with the lost. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Join our Fight against Ebola in West Africa. Click here!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries