November 15, 2009

Waiting for the Resurrection

Genesis 23:1-6, 16-20

“Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”
Genesis 23:4


Many cemeteries look alike: well-kept lawns, sculpted memorial stones, flowers. You’ll find the graves of old and young and people from all kinds of religions. No one escapes death or the grave. Abraham knew that.

Abraham could have buried his beloved Sarah in the choicest plot of the community cemetery. But he refused that hospitality. Having abandoned his old homeland, he had also left behind the ancient burial customs of his people. He was no longer obligated to Ur’s culture of death, nor would he be obligated by the customs of Canaan. Abraham insisted on buying a plot, property dedicated to his new obligation: God’s promises.

In the cave of Machpelah Abraham buried Sarah in the hope of God’s promises. Abraham himself, his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob would also be buried there. They would die and be buried like everyone else, but their grave would be different.

When Christian believers die, they are buried in a grave made holy by Jesus Christ. They are buried in the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. In life and in death, Christians are no longer obligated to the world’s way of death, only to the Lord and his promise of life.

Christians worship on Sundays to remember Christ’s resurrection. Praise him today for preparing a place for you, in life and in death.

I am not my own, Lord, but belong to you, body and soul, in life and in death. You have fully paid for my sins with your blood and freed me from the devil’s tyranny. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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