28 July 2016

Jesus Gives New Life to Your Body

It is evident that Jairus has been catechized by the Word of the Lord, for he comes to Jesus in the hope of His mercy.  He worships Him by faith with his prayers and petitions, and with his body, also, prostrate before his Lord in humility.

It is evident that he, a ruler of the synagogue, has not only cared for others with God’s Word and prayer, but has catechized his own little daughter, as well; else she would not only be sleeping.  The Christian fears the grave as little as her bed, but those who die apart from Christ are swallowed up, body and soul, by eternal death.

Such death is the legacy and inheritance of all the daughters and sons of Adam & Eve.  All of you will die — and must die — because all of you sin and fall short of the Glory of God.  Indeed, it is necessary that you die to your sin, to yourself, and to the world, in order that you be set free and raised up to newness of life in the Body of Christ Jesus.

But so it is, in Him, that death does not have the last word, final though it seems.  Even death cannot end your gladness when you have become a child, not only of man, but of God.  By faith in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, you live, even though you die.

For He has come in the flesh, with a Body and Blood like your own, conceived and born of the Woman, St. Mary, herself a daughter of Adam.  He has entered into the house of sin and death where you are.  He has crossed over to the other side of the sea in the new and greater Exodus of His Cross and Resurrection, even as He was baptized for you and for all righteousness in the waters of the Jordan River.  He has died and is risen to save you.

So does He also now come with His Ministers of the Gospel, who follow Him, and bear His Name, and preach His Word, and give His good gifts to the children of men.  With His Word and the touch of His hand, He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies you and His whole Christian Church with the Holy Spirit of His God and Father.  So does His Word go out into all the world, and His Voice to the ends of the earth.

And so it happens that a great crowd is attracted to Jesus and begins to follow Him.  But be sure of this, that He is more than an object of amazement and idle curiosity.

Jairus is prompted to seek Him out by his desperate need for the sake of his dear daughter, and by his faith in the Word and Flesh of Christ Jesus.  He prays and intercedes for his girl, for the life and health and strength of her body.  He prostrates himself and worships Jesus with his heart and mind, with his words and actions, and with his body, too.  And his prayer is that Jesus would come in the flesh to lay His hands on the little girl, in order to bless her and save her from death.

You hear the attention that is given to the body.  But at the same time, you also know that your body is afflicted by the curse of sin and death.  Your flesh suffers and decays.  It perishes and fades like the grass and its flower.  There is no lasting life but only sickness unto death in your body.

And yet, the truth remains that Christ Jesus has come in His own Body of flesh and blood.  He has suffered and died for your sins and transgressions, and He is risen from the dead in His glorified Body for your justification, in order to rescue and raise you in both body and soul.  For all that He has accomplished for you in His Body, He has also given to you in your Holy Baptism.

Therefore, do not weep and wail and mourn like those who have no hope.  Rather, pray, praise, and give thanks in the hope and confidence of Christ.  Call upon the Name of the Lord, trusting Him to save you from sin, death, and the power of the devil.  Do not be afraid.  Only believe, according to His Word and promise, and rely on Him for the Resurrection and the Life.

Not what your senses, your intellect, or your emotions tell you, no matter how convincingly, but what Jesus says and does for you and gives to you determines what is true and what is real.  The world will mock and scorn, it will laugh and ridicule the hope that is in you, but never mind that.

It is, in fact, as we have sung: The way is dark, but Christ precedes you; past the scowl of death He leads you; spreads a Table where He feeds you with His Body and His Blood.

He raises you up and gives you life, already here and now in your body on earth.  As surely as He has purified your heart and cleansed your conscience by the washing of your body with the water and His Word in Holy Baptism, so surely does He enliven your body with His Holy Spirit; so that you get up and begin to walk in His Way, from your tender youth into your teens and adulthood.

He stretches out His hand to lay hold of you in love, to strengthen and sustain your faith and life in Him through the blessing of His Spirit through His forgiveness of your sins.  He stretches out His hand to give you something to eat, to feed you with the Bread of Life.

The Synagogue and Sabbath Rest of Christ Jesus are where He catechizes you with His Word and calls you daily to repentance.  Thus He returns you, again and again, to the significance of your Baptism, to your dying and rising with Him.  And there He feeds you with Himself for the Life everlasting of your body and soul.  He comes to abide with you, so that you may abide in Him.

Little girl, or little boy; young woman, or young man; child of God, whatever your age, do not continue to sin with your body, nor give yourself over to the laziness of apathy and despair, but worship the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself, in and with your body.  As a disciple of Christ Jesus, follow Him on the Way that leads to Life in the midst of death.  Enter with Him into the House of your true Father and Mother, in which your weeping is turned into joy and your sorrow gives way to feasting.  For here shall your body also rest in righteousness and peace.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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