A family of skeletons was found a few months ago in the elevator shaft of the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is reconstructing the school building to become a welcome and study center for visitors to Wittenberg. The school evidently was built on the old Wittenberg cemetery. Close by is the old Stadtkirche, where Martin Luther preached. All of this is very exciting as Oct. 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Now about ’dem bones. The bones are in a family group, first thought to be those of a mother and children. On closer look, though, archaeologists now say the largest figure is not a mother, but an older youth, and he has a knife in his throat. They’re dating the bones from as early as the 12th century, and these are likely the remains of Christians. Immediately my thoughts have gone to the story behind the bones. Did the family all die at the same time? Probably not. More likely their remains were added to the family plot as each death took its toll. But how did the children die? And that knife — what’s the story behind the knife?
We will likely never get the exact story behind these bones. There is another story behind them, though, the details of which are certain, a matter of historical fact. There is hope for these bones because of this story. If these are the remains of Christians, we can say for certain that these very bones will be raised at the second coming of Jesus Christ to join Him in a new heaven and new earth. These bones will be reunited with their souls and sinew, muscle, amino acids and skin. All this is possible because the Son of God, Jesus Christ, pioneered the way through death to life, rising from the dead after a horrible death on the cross.
As one little saint put it, “He riz!” That’s the real history behind these bones, one that gives these bones the certain promise of a physical resurrection!
We must not let Easter pass without celebrating the ultimate story behind our bones. The Easter Gospel gives us more than a rite of spring or even the gift of spiritual renewal. It is holy history guaranteeing that just as Jesus rose physically from the dead, so we who place our trust in Him will rise physically when He returns. In paradise, the souls of those who have died in the Lord rest in His presence, and at His coming, souls and bodies will be reunited in glorious fashion to live and serve for all eternity!
So pinch yourself. Watch the blood flow through your veins. Feel those achy muscles and bones. Blow your nose and comb your hair. This body of yours, this very body, in all its physical intricacies, will be yours for all eternity, glorified and destined for service. Down the line, archaeologists may find your bones beneath some building and lift them up and out for relocation. Be assured, though, there is more in store for your bones than that. ’Dem bones are meant for glory.