Trinity 16 (Lk 7, 11–17)

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI AMEN.

((5. Oops!: Death is Lord at Nain.))

There would’ve been many other funerals going on in Galilee that day—countless number all over the world! How many? Who’s to say? We aren’t told. At Nain, though, the same story was being played out again. Lord Death had claimed another one. Soon another grave filled. The sadness of it all—hers! The grief, the weight of it. The weight of…him in the casket. “His mother’s only son, and she was a widow.”

How long had she been that? Who knows? What happened to her son? We can guess that it was was some tragedy because of the amount of mourners present: “a might host,” a great crowd weeping with her in Death’s sad, long victory procession to grave and dust. Their weeping wouldn’t change anything, neither would hers, but it would make them feel better, maybe, at least for a little bit. But nevertheless the advancing army was carrying in its midst Lord Death’s latest conquest, and they were all his latest prisoners, too: clothed in black, wet with tears, singing his victory song—weeping!

((4. Ugh! Lord Death still fights on today.))

But what was known in Nain is known all over the world. There’s no one, certainly not any of us, who’ve been untouched by death. Lord Death fights on today. His victory parades are spotted again and agin. His victory cries heard. We’ve joined in them, too, filed in behind hearses, shed our tears, wept and cried. Another grave filled up. Another victory for Lord death, we’re his prisoners, too.

The tragedy of it all is that there’s no one who’s free from him. From the youngest to the oldest, the smallest to the biggest, the richest to the poorest, all are subject to him. He’s the sure thing. He has the final say. That’s what we see. That’s what we know. That’s what we experience. Isn’t it? And one day each one of us will be paraded around and those we love will join in following our bodies when they are placed into the ground—dead and buried.

((3. Aha!: But the Lord Jesus shows up in Nain.))

But what we personally know and experience and what we know about the familiar story played out in Nain, well, that isn’t everything we know. We know Jesus is there, going into Nain, and “He had compassion on her,” “He saw her.” This woman of Nain, this particular woman, the widow whose son had died, she is the one Jesus is there for with all of Himself, just for her.

To her He says, “Don’t weep!” That’s an uncaring and insensitive thing to say if it had come from us, not so with Jesus. There’s no one quite like Jesus, not in the whole world, and certainly not in little Nain either. Did show know that? Did she even know who Jesus was? It’s not really all that important, neither is what happened to her son, or how long she’d been a widow, or how many other funerals were going on. We aren’t told. But what we are told is what Jesus said and did.

((2. Whee!: JESUS IS THE LORD OF LIFE.))

He interrupts the funeral! Who does He think He is? He acts like He’s the Lord of it. He brings it to a halt. Gets in the way. Touches the coffin, even. What else could the poor pall bearers do but put down the casket? But He’s not only taking over the funeral proceedings, but death itself! To the dead man He says, “Young man, I say to you arise.” And the words of Jesus do what they say. They do that because of who Jesus is. JESUS IS THE LORD, THE LORD OF LIFE!

JESUS IS THE LORD OF LIFE, and He shows up in Nain to give life to that dead man. Since He’s the Lord of Life, He’s also Lord over death. He bosses death around! Jesus claims back death’s latest victim, and Jesus makes good on His “Don’t weep,” stopping a funeral dead in its tracks. Jesus has the final say! Death as no power, no victory, no nothing on Jesus, the Lord of Life.

THE LORD OF LIFE IS JESUS—the Jesus of Nain, the Jesus of Calvary, the Jesus of the empty tomb, the Jesus who is coming again to judge the living and the dead. JESUS IS THE LORD OF LIFE not just because He’s Creator. He’s Lord of Life because He went through death and came back to life. He delivers His life, His victory over death. Speaking, touching, putting His own body into the midst of death to give life. Outside Nain. At Calvary. Here for you, too.

((1. Yeah!: The Lord of Life delivers His life to you.))

Jesus is your Lord of Life. He died on the cross for you and answered for all your sins. You die in that forgiveness. “Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes.” The Love that went through Calvary is stronger than death. He’s taken it over as its Lord. From Jesus death now comes as a gift to God’s forgiven children, the way Jesus gives you life, life with Him, and so when you die, it’s no longer “Prepare to meet your Maker!” but prepare to meet your Savior, Your Lord of Life. “Death is swallowed up in victory.

His victory is the true, sure thing. You’ve been baptized into that victory, into your Lord of Life. Into you JESUS, THE LORD OF LIFE, has put His own body and blood, and they are “a true life-giving food, a true life-giving drink.” (SD VII.76) Death cannot hold those into whom our Lord gives His own body and blood, the Medicine of Immortality. Death holds that person as much as the young man in Nain, to whom Jesus spoke and whose casket Jesus touched.

If she was still around the next time her son died, the woman of Nain was someone who knew that the Lord would one day say to him again, “I say to you arise.” And to her also. And how many days till then are in the hands of the Lord of Life. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” He carried that woman’s. Her son’s death, too. He’s the same Lord who will raise you up, for He’s same Lord of Life for you, giving you His body to eat and His blood to drink.

“The true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen and preserve you in both body and soul unto life everlasting. Depart in peace.” The communicant may say “AMEN.”

INI AMEN.

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