Sermon by Rev. Christian C. Tiews – 11/14/2010
“I, I am he who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth?” (Isa 51:12-13)
As the sanctuary was slowly filling, there was a there was tension in the air.
Even though many of the people had been in this room hundreds of times, today there was something uncomfortably and noticeably different.
Even as they were still taking their seats, the congregation could not keep their eyes off that long object covered by the white funeral pall.
Just a few days earlier that loved one—now lying so still and so cold—was living, and loving, and laughing.
The men from the funeral home no longer referred to that person by name.
Now it was simply a body in a casket.
With All Saints Day still fresh on our minds, we contemplate this morning, are death and tragedy—natural?
Are they normal? Are they even permanent?
This morning’s Gospel lesson reports on two events—the young girl who dies before Jesus can reach her, yet who is miraculously raised from the dead, and the woman with the discharge of blood whom our Lord heals.
But as we reflect on today’s entire pericope—the message jumping out at us is not one of grief…
It is not one of doom and gloom.
Rather, it is one of encouragement.
I, I am he who comforts you.
Bursting into the Lord’s inner circle is a man who has just experienced possibly the greatest tragedy that could afflict anyone:
His own flesh and blood—his own child—has just died.
Any other father would be crushed by hopelessness.
But not this father…
Look at his posture: he is kneeling!
Have you ever knelt before anyone…before a doctor, before a judge?
A person only kneels and begs for mercy if they still have a glimmer of hope that their horrible situation might yet be turned around.
That person would not kneel if everything were hopeless.
As such, the ruler is flinging himself at the mercy of our Lord, in hopes that Jesus will turn this situation around and work a miracle.
Why would he have such hope?
That child is dead! So just deal with it!
Death is natural, normal, and permanent!
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