Wednesday, October 31, 2018

John 5:26-28 " the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out..."


This is October 31st, a day two holidays share. Both have their roots in the fact that tomorrow, November 1st, is All Saints Day. Halloween (All Hallows Eve) is the result of ancient superstitions associated with this day morphing into a strange Disneyesque American holiday. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted 95 Theses addressing the practice of selling indulgences on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany because the church service the following day would be well-attended by his fellow professors at the University.

Do Reformation Day and Halloween have anything else in common? Yes. Death. Halloween is preoccupied with death. Everywhere there are zombies and skeletons, blood and gore. But in the realm of make-believe, death is not real. In everyday life, death and dying are all too real. Luther and the Lutheran Reformation are part of this real world. And when Martin first comes on the scene he is terrified of death and dying. He is afraid of going as a sinner to stand before the holy God. But then God the Holy Spirit uses the Holy Scriptures to reveal to Luther the truth about Jesus' death and resurrection. How the Son of God took our place under God's wrath against sin. How Jesus suffered our sin-punishment and took upon Himself our death, so that through trusting in His atoning sacrifice we too would have victory over death.

Now the question is not whether death is real or make-believe, but rather who has the last word: Satan, the enemy of God, who used sin to bring death into our world? Or Jesus, the Son of God, who died and rose again to give us victory over death and the grave? Jesus' resurrection answers that question once and for all.

When it comes to death, Jesus has the last word!