Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can look on the world and see a world drowning in sin, crime, unbelief. Everywhere we look, there is promiscuity, nakedness (on TV), unbelief. But what about the God, who suffers long? – who is so longsuffering, so patient, that He allows many evil things to go on, because He is waiting patiently for repentance and faith?
People are absolutely right to believe that God is compassionate, for the Bible says, He is slow to anger, and of great mercy.
But that doesn’t mean anyone should think he can take advantage of that mercy, and get away with it. “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
A really good reason, why no one should discard God’s mercy, is because death knows no age – like the man in today’s lesson. He had barely begun to live life. With the daughter of Jairus too, life had barely begun, and it was taken away.
Death doesn’t care. It couldn’t care less. It doesn’t come and ask our permission if we’d like to hang around a bit longer. “Oh I’m sorry, I see you have some more things to do, I guess I’ll come back later.” No. It doesn’t work that way.
And we are not given the privilege of knowing when. It just comes, when it comes.
That doesn’t mean we must be scared into believing. The Bible says, the goodness of God leads us to repentance – that full and complete repentance that includes not only sorrow over sin, but believing in God’s mercy for salvation – that only comes from knowing Jesus has made perfect peace between God and man. He rose, which proves God accepted His sacrifice for our sins.
But then why do we still have to go through death? God, why do we have to go through this, and watch others go through it? As soon as we really start to love someone, they must go? As soon as I really start to get comfortable in this world, and accomplish some good things, life is over?
But before Christ saw the glory of His resurrection, didn’t He first have to die? Before He rose and broke the power of all sin and death, didn’t He first have to suffer, and go to the cross, and bleed and die?
We can chose to focus on the negative, on the hurt, on the pain, but the truth is that Christ alone went through our death (experienced our death) already, so that we never have to go it alone. Christ alone went through our death to bring new meaning to every other funeral. He promises, I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
One thing is so clear about today’s lesson. God not only knows what we go through, He cares. We notice in the details, that this woman lost much more than the average person. She lost everything. It’s hard enough to lose a son, but it was her only. Can’t we just hear someone in that position saying, “God what do you know about my suffering? God, what do you know about losing an only – an ONLY son?”
May our Heavenly Father, open our eyes, and let us see that He does know, and that He does care.
In fact, no one cares more than the only one who spared not His only-begotten Son.
What is so amazing is that He suffered and died in the place of billions, and yet there isn’t the smallest detail in our life that He doesn’t know about and care about. Not one sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing and caring about it. How much more does He know and care about you? For ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Especially when we suffer, He cares. He has a special place in His heart for those moments in our life, because “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”
This woman lost not only her only son, but also her husband. Jesus had compassion on her. That word compassion means that Christ not only felt her sorrow, He had a strong desire to do something about it. And thankfully for her, there is nothing God cannot do. There is no problem of ours that He cannot, and actually, has not already overcome. Because Jesus already went to the cross to accomplish all things needful for us to be saved. He solved our greatest problem already by taking away our sin, and it’s true punishment.
Christ brings new meaning to our suffering. It is not punishment. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Even our death is not punishment. Jesus already took away the true punishment for our sin. He already went through our death, and rose again, to give us life.
Christ has come to give us life, and to give it more abundantly. Not only the resurrection on the last day, but right here and now, He raises us to new life by forgiving us all our sins, by baptizing us in His name, by giving us His Word and Sacraments, through which the Holy Spirit works to strengthen and keep us in the one true and saving faith.
He gives us a brand new heart, and brand new life, daily washing away our sins - daily giving us a brand new start. We fail, and He picks us up, and enables us to carry on.
He calls us by the Gospel, and it is not in vain. He produces real fruit in us, through us, by His Word. We are not dead and lifeless. He has breathed new life into us by His Spirit and Word.
No matter how insignificant our suffering may cause us to feel at the time, God wants us to remember He sent His very best to save us. He sacrificed His only-begotten Son for us. We mean everything to Him.Christ still spends his time healing, comforting, and resurrecting, as He continues to send His holy spirit into our hearts through the Word and Sacraments to grant us new life, new strength, and new hope in the forgiveness of our sins. And no suffering of ours is too big or too small for him to overcome, and alleviate the pain.