"Life's Triumphant March!" Luke 7:11-17

Series: Trinity Season Gospel Sermons

September 24, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

"The bell tolls.....The funeral service begins...the march toward the grave is halted...the Lord Jesus through the called and ordained servant He has sent by the Holy Spirit through His Church...speaks His Word.."In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The congregation responds, "Amen"...."This is most certainly true." Our loved one is not dead, for God is the God of the Living, baptismal words of life dry our tears. Death is swallowed up by life...we see this reality as the funeral pall covers the casket...the blanket of life to soundly sleep in until the day of resurrection. God the Holy Spirit comforts us through the pen of St. Paul, "Romans 6:3-5 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection," Here is the promise, sign, and seal in Jesus' Word and works...this sleeping one...shall rise...we will be together again in these bodies raised from death, from sin, from Satan...perfectly restored and given back to us by His grace."(Rev. Nathan J. Rusert) The Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity 24-September-2023 Sermon Text: Luke 7:11-17 Sermon Theme: Life’s Triumphant March! I. Life Comes To Meet Our Death! (Vs.11-12) II. Life’s Compassionate Word Restores Hope! (Vs.13-15) III. The Lord and Giver of Life Visits His People Only in Jesus! (Vs.16-17) by Rev. Nathan J. Russert

Episode Notes

The Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity                            24-September-2023
Sermon Text: Luke 7:11-17
Sermon Theme: Life’s Triumphant March! I. Life Comes To Meet Our Death! (Vs.11-12) II. Life’s Compassionate Word Restores Hope! (Vs.13-15) III. The Lord and Giver of Life Visits His People Only in Jesus! (Vs.16-17) by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” Death is not natural! Our Creator, Source of all Life, warned our first father Adam, “Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Tending and keeping Eden’s garden Adam and his wife were free to eat the fruit of all the plants, even from the Tree of Life. God’s goodness, love, and care was known to them. He rejoiced to know them face to face as a loving Father. Created with free will in God’s image they walked with the Lord and Giver of Life.
     Until the Liar came! Satan, the fallen angel, concealing himself as a serpent came with tempting words to steal God’s Word from their hearts. He promised them greater freedom of will if only they disobeyed their Creator Father. Their devastating decision plunged all of creation into sin, corruption, and death. With Adam we died spiritually on that fateful day - no longer is our will free in spiritual matters - we are born dead in trespasses and sins. Worse tyrant Satan enslaves our will in spiritual matters. He is the father of lies - the murderer from the beginning. Conceived born spiritually dead we stumble in complete darkness of our sinful captivity towards eternal death. Yet, like people on a cave tour experiencing total darkness - we imagine seeing lights- that we have sparks of the divine within ourselves. Trusting the illusion of our minds and the desires of our flesh - we hate God - the Truth - He shines in our darkness, but we’d rather stumble in our self-chosen darkness - it seems right to us. Twice God the Holy Spirit warns us in Proverbs: “Pro 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
     Death isn’t natural - it is the result of our sin inherited from our fallen father Adam. The Spirit of Truth preaches, Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—“ Sin’s wages of sin are death - spiritual, temporal, and eternal. Death is not our friend. As the Holy Spirit teaches, 1Co 15:26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
     Satan, sin, death, and hell are not the last word - “Jesus lives! The Victory’s Won! Death no longer can appall us! Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done! From the grace Christ shall recall us!” Rejoice always in: “Life’s Triumphant March! I. Life Comes To Meet Our Death! (Vs.11-12) II. Life’s Compassionate Word Restores Hope! (Vs.13-15) III. The Lord and Giver of Life Visits His People Only in Jesus! (Vs.16-17)
I.    “Luk 1:68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,..” the aged priest and new father Zacharias sang on the 8th day of his son’s birth. The day his newborn son was circumcised and given the name: “John.” Of his son’s calling he sang, “Luk 1:76-79 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, (77) To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, (78) Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; (79) To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace." John baptized his cousin Jesus. He saw heaven rent asunder testifying that He is the Lamb of God Who entered human history to take away the sin of the world with His own flesh and blood. He rejoiced for his popularity to decrease while Jesus’ increases. Yet, now John was imprisoned by King Herod for preaching the truth of the sanctity of marriage - holding even the king accountable to God’s Holy Law. Herod’s dungeon reeked of death - martyrdom awaited Zacharias’ only son.
       Luke medical doctor and historian records. (Lk. 7:11) A large crowd followed Jesus. The day before in Capernaum He healed the centurion’s servant with a Word. Now the Lord is entering a city called, “Beautiful” or “Nain.” It lies at the foot of Little Mount Hermon in the green grassy foothills of Galilee. On the sixth day of creation after molding man and then building him a wife for marriage - our Creator looked at all He had made and pronounced it - “Beautiful!” “Very Good!”
       Another crowd is marching out of Nain - it is far from “beautiful.” Listen! (Lk. 7:12) Jesus - The Life draws near to Nain meeting death! Behold! Luke comments - it wasn’t what Jesus expected. Death was not what our Father wanted for mankind. Death’s ugliness on full display. The dead man carried out - body wrapped in burial clothes must be laid in the tomb on the day of his death. His flesh is already rotting, filling the air with death’s stench. At the front of the procession - the young man’s mother. Jewish scholar Alfred Edersheim wrote: “Lastly, the order in which the procession seems to have wound out of Nain exactly accords with what we know of the customs of the time and place. It was outside the city gate that the Lord with His disciples met the sad array. Had it been in Judaea the hired mourners and musicians would have preceded the bier; in Galilee they followed. First came the women, for, as an ancient Jewish commentary explains--woman, who brought death into our world, ought to lead the way in the funeral procession.” As the bereaved mother said to the prophet Elijah, ‘You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”(1Kngs17:18).  
     This mourning mother had walked this path before behind the lifeless corpse of her husband. Widowed, she still had her only son left to provide and care for her. Now he was dead, they had no social security, her future was hopeless. Her home was empty. A mother’s grief for her dead children is great. To bury one whose life the Lord God formed in her womb, the little one she nursed, diapered, cared for, nurtured to adulthood - to see all her hopes for her child shattered by the cruel enemy death!
     A large crowd of mourners from the city of Nain follow this sad procession. Wailing grievously at this widowed mother’s loss - allowing her to weep - in the company of those who had compassion on her loss. Perhaps the greatest comfort we give our fellow members of Emmanuel is to grieve with them. Attend the funeral of every member of our congregation - they are your family - fellow brothers and sisters in Christ - just as we rejoice with those who rejoice - we are called to weep with those who weep. In our gathering together, even to weep, Life meets death! Hasn’t He promised: “Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." The apostle Paul teaches you this truth: “1Co 12:26-27 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” Every Sunday as we gather in Christ’s Name - Life comes to meet our death!
II.    Jesus - Life Incarnate - halts the march to the grave! (Lk. 7:13) Jesus sees the widowed mother’s tears. His heart breaks open for her - He has compassion - truly feeling her pain, sorrow, separation, despair, and grief.   Her grief becomes His! He speaks His Word of promise and hope - “Do not weep!”
       Jesus isn’t promoting a false stoicism - a stiff upper lip - His Word dries our tears with His victory over our sin, our death, our grave. His resurrection is our resurrection. This is why St. Paul writes, 1Th 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” Paul isn’t telling us not to weep. Jesus Himself wept at Lazarus’ grave - death hurts. Weep in joy! As the Psalmist sings, “Psa 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. (6) He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.” With tears we bear the bodies of our loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus to God’s Garden - the cemetery - their lifeless bodies are planted as seeds - awaiting the Day of resurrection.
   Behold! The Resurrection and the Life speaks! (Lk.7:14) The march to the grave halts. He touches the funeral bier. Takes this only son’s death into Himself. “Young man, I say to you arise!” Life rouses the dead back to life with His Word. (Lk.7:16) Immediately he sits up speaking. Jesus rescues him from death, robs the grave, restoring him to his mother.
     God’s only begotten Son in the flesh is my Grave Robber! Yours too! He rescues you from death and the devil daily in your baptism. Today, He speaks you alive, working the forgiveness of sins! Weep no more! Death isn’t the end for those clothed with Jesus in Baptism. Paul preaches, 1Th 4:14-18 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. (15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore comfort one another with these words. - Know the love of Christ! Be filled with the fullness of God! “With these Words!” He is able to do far more than you think! He is present in these words to comfort you!
His resurrection assures you that the loved one you mourn shall be raised by Him. Dr. Luther wrote, “It is true, we sleep much more soundly in bed than we do in the churchyard.” He is coming visibly! The Day of Resurrection draws near! He will speak, ‘I say to you arise!” You will awaken as from a light nap - in a body perfectly cleansed from all sin - incorruptible, immortal, glorious, powerful. He will give you back to you your beloved mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, brothers, and sisters - never to be parted again!
III.   Nain is once more made “Beautiful!” (Lk.7:16-17) Faith’s fear falls upon all. God undoes Adam’s sin and curse in the Man Jesus! Giving glory to God for rescue from sin, death, and the devil - they rejoice - Jesus is the Great Prophet - He is God visiting His people purchasing them to be His own with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death.
         How do we prepare to die? Come to Church every Sunday if physically able. God visits us here and now! Jesus -The Lord - Life and Resurrection is really present. As the Holy Spirit preaches, Heb 1:1-2 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” Hear Him! In His Word - preached by men He calls, ordains, and sends to be His ambassadors - reconciling you to your God and Father. Hear Him free you in His Word of forgiveness. Hear Him praying with you as you grieve, struggle, promising to deliver you from all evil. Hear Him invite you to feast on the Tree of Life - the fruits of His cross - given and shed for you - forgiving you all your sins-swallowing up your death - for where there is forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation.
    Now be “Beautiful” - Be “Nain”ians… Spread the Good News! Let the report of Jesus go through your lips to Tell City, Perry County, Spencer County to the ends of the earth. Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Amen.

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