1 Corinthians 15:56-57 - The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Every time I speak on The Lutheran Hour, two things are behind my sermon:
1. For someone, this will be the first time they will hear the Savior's story of salvation.
2. For someone, this will be the last time they will hear they are saved by faith in the Redeemer.
This explains why we are having this second devotion on death. In short, I'm speaking about death because the Bible speaks about death.
The Bible tells how, because of humankind's deliberate disregard of the Creator's single commandment, sin was born into this world, bringing death and a pantheon of other evils along with it.
I'm talking about the questions of death because history in general and the Bible in particular show no person can defeat death -- not on his own. Medicine may advance and find cures for cancer and the common cold, but each of us will die. There is no fountain of youth which remains undiscovered; there is no plastic surgery which can guarantee perpetuality; there is no cloning procedure which will make you indestructible, invincible, invulnerable.
Death is coming, and we are wise to see how the Lord feels about it. To that end, here are two points:
Point one: years ago I heard of a lady who, after worship, fell on a church step and broke her hip. After her surgery, the lady didn't improve, and ended up dying a few days later. At the wake, the woman's pastor stood by the side of her mourning husband. As she had been dearly loved, many came and offered their condolences. One said, "Be comforted; this is the will of God." Another said, "God is testing you with this tragedy." And another commented, "You will see God's direction in this, someday. Every dark cloud has a bright lining."
They were all well-meaning comments, made by sincere friends. Even so, the pastor ended up rewriting his funeral sermon. He began with the words, "Today, I proclaim to you a loving Lord who doesn't push old ladies down church steps." Then the pastor told them that God cannot be accused of killing little old ladies or people who are at work in the World Trade Center. He told them how God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, including the gifts of forgiveness, salvation, resurrection and, best Gift of all, His only Son.
Point two: Jesus wanted His people to understand that while the way a person dies may seem to be shocking or scandalous, terrible or tragic, blessed or cursed. Finally and ultimately, the way we die isn't all that important. It really doesn't make much difference if death sneaks up and surprises us or if death gives some warning. It doesn't make much difference because when death comes, and it will come, the results are always the same.
When death comes, at that moment, our hearts will stop beating; our brains will stop thinking; our ears will stop hearing; our eyes will stop seeing; and all of life's functions, in this world, will come to a grinding, screeching halt.
And for those who have been forgiven and given faith in the Redeemer, a new life, a better, more complete life will begin. As Luther would say, "This is most certainly true."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me see that because of the Savior, death and the grave will no longer have the final word. Let me trust in Him who gave His life so death will be a door to a perfect life with the Savior. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"