Genesis 35:1-20; 1 John 3:11-18; John 11:1-16
From the Reformer
Jacob, accordingly, wants to build an altar. For what use? “To the God who answered me in the day of my distress, etc.,” he says. These are true altars, in comparison with which the sacrifices of bulls and goats are only shadows, so to say, and external signs. But to preach, to hear the Word, to give thanks, and to pray, these are the true sacrifices. These Moses describes in the fathers. Those external sacrifices he hardly touches with a word. “I will proclaim there,” says Jacob, “how God was with me wherever I went and how He heard me.” Therefore to make offerings and sacrifices is really nothing else but to confess and praise God
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Lectures on Genesis (v 6, p 233)
Pulling It Together
“Arise and go.” That is what God told Jacob to do, and he seemed never to cease journeying, and building altars, and erecting pillars to the Lord’s great deeds. Jacob wanted people to know and remember the important things in his life. So, he constructed monuments.
Although we still build monuments today, we may be called to a different sort of memorializing. The message that we have heard from the beginning is that “we should love one another.” (1John 3:11) How do you build a monument that tells others that love is important? Perhaps, the best tribute to the love of God is through loving.
Yet, how do we know real, life-sacrificing love outside of the love of Jesus? “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1John 3:16) Now, there is a memorial. If our very lives could be lived in such a way that they were tributes to the one who first loved us, then Christ might just use our lives to raise the dead.