We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Martin Pistorius was a happy twelve-year-old boy living with his family in their home country of South Africa. One day, he came down with a mysterious illness. The illness placed Martin in a deep coma, completely unresponsive to everything around him. He remained in this state for so long that, eventually, the medical team told Martin’s family that they should take him home, as his death would now be just a matter of time.
But Martin did not die. His body kept going. Each morning, his father fed him, got him dressed, and took him to the care center for the day. In the evening, he brought him home, fed him, bathed him, and got him ready for bed. This went on for twelve years.
What no one knew was that Martin was aware of everything going on around him. He could see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. His body was incapable of showing any response in any way. However, he knew precisely what was going on.
It’s the stuff of nightmares: To live as a prisoner in plain sight, completely isolated from others for any affection, any attention, any meaningful relationship. It’s also a jarring illustration of what sin does—your sin and mine.
Because of sin, you and I, by nature, languished in prisons of our own making. These prisons isolated us from each other and from God.
But then came Jesus. Through his perfect life in our place and his suffering and death on our behalf, he threw open the prison doors. He cleansed us. He clothed us in his holiness. In Holy Baptism he claimed us as his own. And now, through his gospel, new life is ours. We are forgiven. We are his. And we are free.
Twelve years later, Martin’s imprisonment came to an end. His body woke up, and he’s happily married, living his new life. In Christ, our imprisonment is over too. And our new life lasts forever.
Lord Jesus, thank you for rescuing me from my prison. Thank you for my new life. Amen.