June 5, 2013

Jesus Brings Us Out of Death into Life

The Readings and Prayers assigned for today all deal with the good news of coming out of death into life. Our Anglican (BAS) Eucharistic Prayer # 3 condenses the Good News of what Jesus does into three steps to personal spiritual life. In him we come:
  • From error into truth (through teaching)
  • From sin into righteousness (through forgiveness)
  • From death into life (through salvation)

 1. The widow and her son faced death by starvation in a time of famine
1 Kings 17.8-16 tells us Elijah was directed by the Holy Spirit to visit and stay with a poor widow during a famine he had earlier prophesied. The verses preceding tell us God had fed him with ravens that carried food to him in the wilderness. Now he approaches a starving widow and asks for water and bread. She tells him she has only a small jar of flower and some oil – only enough for one last meal before she and her son starve to death.
  • Step 1: Elijah teaches her a prophecy that the jar and oil will not fail
  • Step 2: Widow believes the prophecy and is in right relationship
  • Step 3: Widow and son are restored to physical and potentially spiritual life

 2. Apostle Paul was spiritually dead before meeting the risen Jesus
Paul was not in danger of losing his physical life – but, like many people in our time, he had lost his spiritual life. Paul was so focused on defending and upholding the Law of Moses that he had ceased to love God and God’s creation. He went through the same three step process to gain spiritual life:
  • Jesus had confronted him personally with the truth of who he was - The Messiah
  • Paul had repented his sins in persecuting Christians – was forgiven and brought into righteousness
  • Paul had been raised from spiritual death into spiritual life

 3. The Widow’s son was raised to both physical &spiritual life 
We can be sure many preachers in churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary have been struggling with this miraculous healing story. I would guess many of them will avoid having to deal with miraculous healing by explaining the young man was not dead but in a comma. Either way, the Good News is that by restoring him to life he and the witnesses were potentially brought:
  • From error into the truth of Jesus identity as the Messiah
  • From separation and sin into a right-relationship
  • From spiritual death into spiritual life

 If we read Scripture daily, pray and examine our lives regularly Jesus will help us to go:
  • From error into truth
  • From separation and sin into righteousness
  • From spiritual death into spiritual life

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