Dry Bones in the Valley


The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1-6 ESV

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Luke 24:36-42 ESV


In the Czech Republic there’s a really creepy church, called the Sedlec Ossuary, that is full of the bones of dead people. The bones are from many thousands of people who died hundreds of years ago, some in a plague that happened in 1318 and some in a war that happened about a hundred years later. Their bones are put together to make chandeliers, candelabras, candleholders, chalices, and other decorations. The Sedlec Ossuary began to be filled with bones in the 1400s, when the church cemetery closed, and the bones of dead people were brought into the church itself and piled into pyramids. In the 1800s a woodcarver was given the job of arranging all the bones into beautiful, if bizarre, decorations. Today the Sedlec Ossuary is a famous place to visit.

The bones of this church are dry and old and all mixed up, and no one would expect them to come to life again as living, breathing people in an ordinary situation. Many years before, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of a valley full of dry bones scattered all over the ground. The Lord asked Ezekiel if he thought these bones could come to life again, and Ezekiel gave a wise answer. He said, “O Lord God, you know.” Something that would seem impossible in regular circumstances is possible when God is at work. God told Ezekiel that he would do an amazing thing with these bones. He would bring them together and cover them with flesh and skin and give them the breath of life, and they would all live again. 

When Jesus died on the cross and was laid in a tomb, no one expected that he would live again. In normal circumstances, dead people don’t come back to life. But the Lord did a new and amazing thing on the first Easter. Jesus walked out of the grave, alive forever. On the evening of Easter Sunday Jesus came into a room where his followers were, and they were amazed and afraid to see him. They thought he must have been a ghost. But Jesus talked to them and reassured them that he wasn’t a ghost. He had flesh and bones, and they could touch him and know that he was real. They could see the scars left by the nails on the cross on his hands and feet. Jesus even ate a piece of fish while they watched him. Jesus came back to life to give new life to everyone who believes in him. One day everyone who is dead who believed in Jesus will come out of their graves, just like he did. Their dry bones will be covered with flesh and skin, and the breath of life will fill their lungs, and we all will live forever in God’s heavenly kingdom.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the resurrection of Jesus and for the promise of our own resurrection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.