Our God makes the dead rise. It isn’t an abstract thought or concept. It isn’t a philosophical metaphor. The readings today (1 KGS 17:17-24GAL 1:11-19LK 7:11-17) center around one of the defining qualities of God – He breathes life into what was once lifeless. He animates what was still. Our God rescues us from death.

At the core of our faith – of our hope – lies this incredible truth. God rescued us, is rescuing us, and will rescue us. Death is not the end. So often we fight against this fact. Sometimes, we do it explicitly.

We give up hope on a world that could value life.

We walk away from a teen’s funeral questioning a God that would allow it.

We feel broken and lifeless and a sinister voice whispers, “You will always be this way…”

And we believe it.

We believe the lie that death is the end even as we proclaim the opposite every single Sunday. Because it is hard to declare life sometimes in a world that seems so preoccupied with death. It is hard to say boldly that our God raises the dead when we stand in front of an open casket.

This Sunday’s readings confront us and challenge us. They question our faith and examine it. They dare us to worship the God of life – the God that raised the woman at Zarephath and the son of the Widow of Nain. The God that raised Lazarus. The God that will raise you and me, if we hope in that resurrection.

A faith that proclaims the victory over death is monumental in the world today. It rises above the sufferings of each day, the challenges we face in ministry, our brokenness and pain. This kind of faith saves us because it isn’t a faith that can possibly be based on our power, gift, or talent. We cannot raise the dead. We can hope in the one that does.

Where are you waiting for resurrection? Where do you feel dead? You work for a God that can fix, raise, and glorify that brokenness. You serve a God that can make what is dead in you alive. We proclaim it to teens – when will we begin living it ourselves? When will we say, “My God has raised me, fixed what was destroyed and breathed life into lifelessness? And He will do the same for you.”

No greater message could be shared. No more meaningful message is more needed.

About the Author

Joel Stepanek

I spent most of my 8th grade year in detention because there wasn’t a dare I wouldn’t accept. But in high school, my youth minister dared me to follow Christ and I haven’t looked back. I love all things Wisconsin, especially the Green Bay Packers. I can probably eat more cheese than you. (Please don’t dare me to prove it.) Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @LT_Jstepanek.

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