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From the Coffin

So, most of you know that I’ve been on a little bit of a self-made rollercoaster. Because of consistent actions I’m not allowed to discuss in any plain terms (really, I’m not allowed to), I’ve regressed a lot in my life over the last year. The man I used to know I only now glimpse. The God I used to talk and walk with everyday I now have a hard time finding and my shouts don’t seem to reach him. I’m trying to get out of this and be one with my Lord again, but I still feel powerless, distant, dead. Spiritual suicide will make one feel like that I guess.

As Jesus approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother and she was a widow. Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk… They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” Luke 6:11-16

There’s more than one thing this passage is trying to communicate, but the thing that stuck out to me is the power over the fall of man. *Flashback Cue* In Genesis, God asks Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if they do so, they shall surely die. Death is the primary consequence of their sin. In the story, after they eat from the tree, something slightly unexpected happens, they don’t immediately keel over. I believe the explanation for death making sense as the consequence is twofold. First, though death was not instantaneous, because they were not allowed back into the garden to eat of the tree of life, it was now eventual and inevitable. Second, humanity was now removed from the deeply intimate presence and blessing of God. The inherent goodness of the garden is starkly contrasted with the first story told about life outside of Eden, one son murdering another. Life like this, separated from its source, is a comparably dead one.

Jesus raising this man shows his power over death. He has power over the primary consequence of our sin, death.* With a short command, Jesus undoes for this man what the fall of man did for him. The man is alive. The story is beautiful simply in the standalone power of the moment, but when we consider the thematic implications this story (in conjunction with many other stories in Luke) has for our understanding of the purposes of Jesus, the force of the moment is so much more. At least for me. Jesus raised a man from the dead and now a widow has a son back. Awesome. But Jesus has power over death!

The power Jesus has over physical death is impressive, but the power over the fall is more so. Why? Because even if one is a alive, life isn’t worth a damn if its not one of intimacy with the Creator of life. I have moved from being a man fully immersed in the redemptive and transformational process to one who implicitly decided that the exodus from his old self was a bad idea, and one step at a time went back to captivity. In a lot of ways, I’m dead. I’m coffined. I’m immobile. There is nothing I can do but hope Jesus will touch my coffin as he walks by and say, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” And my dream is that all those around me will not stop praising God because they saw with their own eyes a coffin open and a dead man brought to life.


*There’s a lot in Scripture about how closely sin and death are tied. The work of Jesus to save us from our sins is thus also about saving us from the death our sins result in. The focus of Scripture linking sin and death is far more than sin and hell; conversely, forgiveness and redemption is linked far more closely with life than the concepts are with the avoidance of hell.

Categories: Miscellaneous
  1. Brett
    April 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Ah, maybe if we yell louder, sin harder, and deviate longer; maybe then we’ll meet our Lord on the road to Damascus…

    And, no. I don’t text.


    • April 27, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      I don’t think the right way to god is the wrong direction Brett. You make me smile though. Sorry you don’t text. I could have sent you daily coquetish 140 character notes. Miss you.


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