Acts 26:22-23 - To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.
Not so long ago a pastor shared a story with me.
The tale spoke of three melancholy friends who had just attended the funeral of an old buddy who had passed on quite unexpectedly. As they were walking away from the gravesite, one of the mourners morosely asked, "Boys, when your time comes, what would you like the preacher to say about you?"
One of the men replied, "Well, I don't know. I guess I'd like him to tell the multitude that will be gathered there that day to mourn me ... I want him to say, 'Before us today lies a great humanitarian, an exceptional man.'"
The man who had asked the question countered, "Not bad, but I think I'd prefer the minister to say something like 'We are mourning a man who was a great husband and father, a man who always managed to set an example for all of us to follow. He's going to be missed.'"
Both were still congratulating each other on the wisdom and rightness of those eulogies when they realized their companion hadn't said a word.
Treading carefully lest they upset him in his reflections, they gently asked, "And, old friend, what do you think the pastor ought to say when you leave this veil of tears?"
The third fellow broke the somber mood when he said, "I want them to say, 'Look! He's moving! He's alive!'"
You see, my friends, with some major modifications, that is what is going to happen to all who die believing in Jesus. When our Savior was crucified, they buried Him. Then they set a seal on His tomb; then they put a guard in place to make sure there would be no shenanigans.
You, I pray, know what happened next.
Three days later, long after corruption should have begun to decay and decompose Him, a living Lord Jesus, Defeater and Destroyer of death, came out, and an angel announced, "He is risen!"
That's a theological way of saying, "Look! He's moving; He's alive!"
As Luke shared in our Bible verse at the top of this devotion, Jesus, according to prophecy, would be the first to rise from the dead.
This implies that there will be others who will follow Him. And, indeed, there will be. When God's fullness of time comes, the Savior will come back and He will claim His own. On that day, all who have died with faith in their hearts will be called out of their graves to eternal life.
In other words, we are going to look around and say about all of the risen family of faith, "Look! They're moving! They're alive!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that when I leave the graveside of an old, Christian friend or relative, I can be comforted that this is not the end. Because of the forgiveness the Savior has won and the faith the Holy Spirit has given, I know there will be an unending reunion of believers. Please grant that others may be brought to such a faith. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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