Dying and Rising
Scripture Reading — Romans 6:1-14
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? — Romans 6:3
Theologian Scott Hoezee tells of a pastor who preached a Sunday sermon about Jesus’ resurrection. First thing Monday morning, the phone rang. It was a high-powered, big city lawyer who had been in church the day before. The pastor invited the man over, and as the lawyer came into the study, he said, “I have just one question for you: Do you believe that Jesus was really raised from the dead? Do you really believe it?” “Yes, I really do,” the pastor replied. The lawyer smiled and said, “Thank you, that’s all I needed to know.” And he left.
Jesus really was raised from the dead. He really is still alive, and as he rules in heaven, he really is also right here with us, through the Holy Spirit, in our every act of love, kindness, grace, compassion, and hope. Jesus lives! Because he really arose, that changes everything.
Rich got cancer a few years ago. A young grandpa, he knew his days were numbered. He grieved, knowing how much he would miss his loving wife, his step-children, and the grandson who adored his every word. Rich came to me, his pastor, and he said, “I want to be baptized.” Typically in our church, people who want to be baptized attend a class explaining baptism’s role in God’s big story. Rich said he was willing to attend but wasn’t sure how long he would live. Of course, Rich was baptized right away—he was ready to be claimed by God!
Jesus, your promise is that all who die with you will also live with you. Help us to believe always. Amen.