Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live. . . .
By the Spirit of the Lord, Ezekiel had an unforgettable vision. The grisly scene of bones scattered across a valley might seem a terrifying nightmare, with the evidence of death all around. But God turned that valley of the shadow of death into a place of life. The dry, scattered bones began rattling and joining together, and soon they were covered by muscles and skin. And when the breath of life entered the people’s remade bodies, they sprang to life again.
God said this was a sign for his people, who thought they were dead, dried up, cut off, and without hope in the world. They were exiled from their land as punishment for generations of sinning against God. But he promised to restore them to himself by putting his Spirit in them and giving them new life.
God accomplished this in surprising ways through his Son, Jesus Christ. He came to pay for human sin by giving up his own life and then rising from the dead. Then God’s Spirit came to breathe new life in us, guiding us to know the Lord and trust in him for forgiveness and salvation. As Paul put it, though we were “without hope and without God in the world,” he “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead” in our “transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 12). And one day, when Jesus returns, we will also rise from our graves to live with him! (See 1 Thessalonians 4-5; Revelation 21-22.)