16th SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
SEPT 11, 2016
LUKE 7:11-17; EPHESIANS 3:13-21; 1 KINGS 17:17-24
JESUS SAYS “ARISE”
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins, to deliver us from this present evil age (Gal 1: 3, 4). Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


It is proper for you to hate the opposite of life - death – death by accident – death by illness – death by abortion - death on the highways –death through radical Islamic terrorism including the nearly 3000 killed on 9/11 - death in weather disasters - death through criminal violence - death in hospitals – death in hospice care. All sinners face a crisis. God does bring calamity. Death comes to dozens in a Brussels Airport, to scores in an earthquake in Italy, to hundreds in Chicago violence, to a dozen (drug-related) in Milwaukee over a Labor day weekend. Death comes to roughly three and a half million (born and unborn) each year in America.


It is proper for you to hate the opposite of life – death - death the way God reveals it – as a curse (Gen 3) – as the wages of sin (Rom 6) – as an enemy (I Corinthians 15). This is not pretend death – thought of as something natural. This is not death discussed by soothing voices who deny God’s existence and the second death of God’s wrath. This is not make-believe death – described as an end to all existence as if science could see what is beyond the grave. This is death – real death – appointed for you to face once and then the judgment.


The son of the widow of Nain was not near death – not just clinically dead. It’s not that his vital signs were undetectable while efforts were made to resuscitate him. This young man was dead! His funeral procession was not a celebration of his life but an honest recognition of the severe loss caused by his death. This widow’s line had been snuffed out. The corpse of her only son who was her source of support was being carried out for burial.


The convergence of the great crowd of people coming into the city and the considerable crowd going out of the city pictures the two streams of all people. One is the march of all humanity steadily carrying their dead to the grave. The other is a procession of life – following in the train of Jesus – as you are doing today.

16th SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
SEPT 11, 2016 
LUKE 7:11-17; EPHESIANS 3:13-211 KINGS 17:17-24
JESUS SAYS “ARISE”
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins, to deliver us from this present evil age (Gal 1: 3, 4). Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


It is proper for you to hate the opposite of life - death – death by accident – death by illness – death by abortion - death on the highways –death through radical Islamic terrorism including the nearly 3000 killed on 9/11 - death in weather disasters - death through criminal violence - death in hospitals – death in hospice care. All sinners face a crisis. God does bring calamity. Death comes to dozens in a Brussels Airport, to scores in an earthquake in Italy, to hundreds in Chicago violence, to a dozen (drug-related) in Milwaukee over a Labor day weekend. Death comes to roughly three and a half million (born and unborn) each year in America.


It is proper for you to hate the opposite of life – death - death the way God reveals it – as a curse (Gen 3) – as the wages of sin (Rom 6) – as an enemy (I Corinthians 15). This is not pretend death – thought of as something natural. This is not death discussed by soothing voices who deny God’s existence and the second death of God’s wrath. This is not make-believe death – described as an end to all existence as if science could see what is beyond the grave. This is death – real death – appointed for you to face once and then the judgment.


The son of the widow of Nain was not near death – not just clinically dead. It’s not that his vital signs were undetectable while efforts were made to resuscitate him. This young man was dead! His funeral procession was not a celebration of his life but an honest recognition of the severe loss caused by his death. This widow’s line had been snuffed out. The corpse of her only son who was her source of support was being carried out for burial.


The convergence of the great crowd of people coming into the city and the considerable crowd going out of the city pictures the two streams of all people. One is the march of all humanity steadily carrying their dead to the grave. The other is a procession of life – following in the train of Jesus – as you are doing today.


Our bodies are bodies of death (Romans 7:24) and that is something we cannot educate our way out of or discover our way out of or health-food our way out of or medicate our way out of or exercise our way out of or pray our way out of. You cannot choose to sit out of this procession of death as a spectator. Death is the wages of sin and is therefore universal. The widow of Zarephath – asked this question of Elijah – “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” If God remembers your sin against you – it is as you confessed – deserving His present and eternal punishment.


That is why Jesus is walking the earth in our text a few miles south of His home town of Nazareth. The man who led the great crowd of people into the city is the Lord of life. Jesus’ insides were moved with compassion as He speaks to the now childless widow – “Do not weep” literally “Do not go on weeping.” He said this not to stuff her emotions but in anticipation that soon her current cause for weeping would be swept aside.


Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. It is a majestic Messianic moment! Jesus had healed and taught with authority. The only prophetic miracle He had not done was raising a corpse to life. Now the procession going out the gate stopped as Jesus touched the coffin with His bare hands. The holy One of Israel was overruling the holiness code by touching the uncleanness of a corpse. Jesus knows that His voice can be heard by the dead. He speaks directly to the corpse – Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak and Jesus gave him to his mother.


The voice that had fallen silent in death – was active again. He sat up and began to speak! Her only son was once again able to receive her love and give her love in return. Jesus presented him to his mother. Fear (godly fear) seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.


In fact, the report of this occurrence went even farther – crossing oceans and centuries of time, and coming to the city of Milwaukee - into this very house of worship - in the year of our Lord 2016. “Young man, I say to you arise.” Jesus knows His voice can be heard by the dead. That is why God does not speak of the acceptance of death in Scripture. He speaks of its reversal. He speaks of its destruction. He speaks of its defeat in Christ’s resurrection – but not of its acceptance. The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26). St. Paul wrote of the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel (II Tim 1:10). It is in the life and light of Christ that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:21).


God truly ministered to these two widows as their dead sons are raised to life. He saw them and blessed them in their distress. He changed their trouble and despair with a breath. In one case it was the breath of Elijah – the prophet supreme. He had no authority to grant life. But He interceded to the one who did. He cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?...O Lord, my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah…”


The Lord also listens to your voice when you call upon Him all the day - the day of trouble. He sees your worst distresses. It is His steadfast love in Christ that gives breath to your voice for His presence. It is His steadfast love in Christ that causes your heart to cry for His mercy even when you are tempted to lose heart – over your struggle with sin - over what you are suffering.


For the widow at Nain no intercession to the Lord God is recoded. Rather the word of the Lord God Himself in the flesh is heard speaking on her behalf - Young man I say to you arise.” It was so easy for Jesus - for He is life itself!


What was not easy for the Lord of life was drinking the cup of our death (present and eternal). The agony of His cry – His begging - was real - If it be possible – let this cup pass from me. Jesus knew that death was not natural – not part of some circle of life. Jesus knew that death was no friend. Jesus knew that the second death is the lake of fire. Beyond the gate of Nain was the gate of Jerusalem. At that gate He confronted death for all humanity with His bare hands and bare body in sacrificial death. Now our life is given through His death and our death is lifted away by His life.


This is the love that surpasses knowledge – the immeasurable breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God in Christ. He was lavishing His love on this whole dying world through the blood of His Son. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.


When the son at Nain was raised to life he sat up and began to speak and Jesus gave him back to his mother. We do not know the words that he first uttered – that were heard by those near him at the gate. They must have been delightful to hear! We do know the words spoken by the risen Christ to those too fearful to carry His body out for burial. Peace be with you. To disciples so very fearful of the procession of death they were on – Peace be with you. His words are eternally delightful words.


The words spoken by the risen Christ give you back to His Father. They are words of peace – words of forgiveness – words of new life. As Elijah stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again” – so the Holy Trinity has, in a manner, stretched Himself over you three times in Holy Baptism – clothing you with Christ. At the word of the risen Christ you were washed with water of rebirth in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is in that gift that Jesus, in effect, says to you each day, “young man, young woman, I say to you arise.” What does such baptizing with water indicate? It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.


Beloved of God, it is so easy for him to deal with you in like manner as he dealt with the widow’s son. Messiah has come - the fulfillment of all Old Testament hope! He is God in the flesh -stronger than death! He is full of compassion! What the widow’s son saw that every eye will see – that you also will see - is the man whose word and touch makes death flee away – Jesus the Christ. On the last day His voice will touch this coffin known as the earth and the dead will rise. Those in Him will rise to everlasting life! He is your living hope! He is your sure and certain hope! Body and soul He will give us back to the Father and to one another in fullness of love and life! Glad hymns forever! Alleluia!


It was proper for godly fear to seize the crowds at Nain and glorify God. Only God has power over death and they knew that God was at work in Jesus in some way. But they did not yet understand the full witness of the Psalms and the prophets about God’s suffering, righteous one. That full witness the Holy Spirit brings to you! The prophet Supreme is the Sacrifice Supreme – your Savior. It is therefore proper for godly fear to take hold of us as recipients of this immeasurable gift of love! It is proper for godly fear to grip us as the Judge of that day comes to banquet us and forgive us at His table on this day! God is still visiting His people! The risen Lord is still fulfilling His healing, life-giving purpose for you!


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a