Summary: Christ raises both the physically dead and the spiritually dead.
“Hope For The Living Dead”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
In our Scripture lesson for this morning Ezekiel finds himself in a valley that is covered
with nothing but dry bones.
Sure looks like a hopeless situation to me.
Then God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”
I would imagine that Ezekiel’s natural response to this question would be “No, of course
Because he knew how these bones had become dry.
The dry bones are symbolic of the discouraged state of the people of Israel.
And he knew that the dryness of the bones was an indictment on Israel for specific sins
that the nation had committed.
These sins include cultic abuse--such as profaning the sabbath, and ethical crimes--such
as bloodshed, adultery, the dishonoring of parents, and the violation of the rights of orphans,
widows, and sojourners.
But Ezekiel also knew that the God he served was merciful and compassionate, and
that anything is possible for God.
So, Ezekiel responded, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
And sure enough, the mercy and compassion of God came forth.
God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, to tell them to hear the Word of the Lord, and
He, would cause them to live.
So Ezekiel was obedient to God, and he prophesied to the bones.
And he saw something happen that I am sure must have astounded him.
Many times the Lord will call us to do something, and we will think.... “Okay, I’ll do
it....I’ll trust You and do it...but I don’t know what good it could possibly do.”
Well, to Ezekiel’s surprise, as he was prophesying, he heard noise and saw the bones
shaking; he saw them coming together.
He saw toe bones connected to foot bones,
He saw foot bones connected to ankle bones,
and on and on and on until all the bones were connected.
But they were not breathing; they were in a sense....the living dead!
Kind of like so many of those wacky zombie movies that a buddy of mine used to love.
But God asked Ezekiel to prophesy again, and breath came into them; “they came to life
and stood up on their feet--a vast army.”
Then God told Ezekiel that this vast army of the living dead were the entire household of
And they were like this because their hope was gone.
And there are millions of people who are like this today.
Just look where we live--this community, this country, this world!
Just look around, and it seems as if we are living in a valley of dry bones!
We see men, and women, boys and girls--deteriorated physically, spiritually, and
We see despair, depression, hunger, the homeless, orphans, and widows not being cared
Look at the tv news or the newspaper racks and we see bloodshed, adultery, extortion,
and so much corruption that it causes us to look up to God and wonder, “Can these bones live?”
There are some people who have chosen to serve at the altar of the gods of wealth and
power and have lost their souls.
Their are those who have been abused, neglected, and are suffering all kinds of
hardships...many of them are little more than breathing corpes.
There are kids on dope, crack houses, crack addicts, gang members, heroine fiends,
broken homes, people living with HIV and AIDS.....
People whose lives have been written off by society as being disposable---
There are so many situations that seem absolutely hopeless....
But in the eyes of the Eternal God, no life is disposable, no situation is hopeless!!!
Because we are never beyond the vast realm of God’s redemptive grace!
This week a friend of mine told me about a woman he knows who was diagnosed with
At first, she was depressed.
She knew what was going to happen to her body.
She knew that she would soon be losing the ability to control her body and her limbs.
She knew what she was up against--and she began to lose hope.
Then one morning she was reading the Gospel of John, and she read that Jesus came to
give her life, and to give it to her abundantly.
So she made up her mind that she was going to take Jesus at His Word.
She decided that she wasn’t going to let this disease defeat her, and cause her to be one
of the living dead.
So she entered the New York City Marathon, and she walked it but she finished it.
And the next year she did it again....
And then the year after that she did it again....
And how was she able to do this?
She did this through the same power that caused the dry bones of the valley to come to