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Leland Stander Memorial

August 27, 2013

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Tuesday of Pentecost 14                                           Trinity Lutheran Church

27 August 2013                                                                                             Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

John 11:25-26 / Memorial Service:  Leland Charles Stander

Leland was very precious to the Lord.  After all, the Lord created Leland.  The Lord loved him.  He gave His life for Leland.  He died for him on the cross.  Bearing Leland’s sin, the world’s and yours, as well as the damnation it earned as His own on Good Friday.  Burying all of Leland’s sin and losing it in the black hole of His empty tomb.  God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting Leland’s sin against him, the world or you for that matter. In Holy Baptism Jesus put His most holy Name on Leland.  And with His divine Name – all that He is and all that He has – FOR LELAND.  The Lord Jesus:  Savior for Leland.  And Savior for you in case you were wondering or had any doubts about that!

Jesus’ unthwartable promise to Leland and to you is the same as it was as He stood near the grave of His four-days-in-the-tomb-his-body-stinketh friend Lazarus.  And what is that promise?  Listen.  “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

So, Leland is where he’s always been, even before he died – his life is hidden in, with and under THE LORD JESUS!  The Lord has given Leland a break from folding towels at Envisions and the bodily suffering that he endured towards the end of his life.  Now he waits for the resurrection of the body on the Last Day.  And on that day Leland’s body will be perfect.  So will his mind.

The old Leland — his intellectual and physical disabilities — will be no more.  Can you imagine the conversation?  His tongue will be able to coherently keep up with sister Dorothy Mae!  Leland will probably give her a run for her money!  Won’t she be surprised?  Maybe having a race with his brother Willard.  Both of them insisting that they will drive the tractor from now on!  Being able to meet and talk in the flesh to his father Charles who tragically died of TB when he was a baby.  I can’t wait to see that.  For those who knew this family there won’t be a dry eye when the Lord Jesus gives this son back to his father and this father back to his son.  All the while Dorothy Mae will be in the background bantering about shirttail relatives.

Job, as good as dead, confessed the faith so well:  “I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God whom I myself shall behold and whom my eyes shall see and not another.”  So too Leland.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  That’s the promise of Jesus.  “He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  And then the big theological question.  The biggest question you can ever be asked by the Lord.  “Do you believe this?”  Faith and His promises always go together.  Believe and you have what Jesus promises.  If you don’t believe, if you stubbornly refuse, well … how sad.  It will end quite hellaciously for you because you insisted, not Jesus.

That’s precisely why Jesus weeps at Lazarus’ tomb.  People aren’t believing what He’s promising.  His words sound like total nonsense in the midst of death and the reality of a dead body.  So unbelievable!  As a result, Resurrection and the Life Jesus takes charge and barks out the orders:  “Take away the stone.”

What?  “Take away the stone?”  Martha, God bless her, puts her big “But” into the Lord’s order.  “But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor.  He’s been dead and buried for four days!  Nothing good can come from that!”

Then Jesus declares:  “Did I not tell you that if you believed [there He goes again – believe or faith always goes with His promises] – Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  So they remove the stone.

That’s when Jesus rips off a prayer to the Father.  “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me.  You’re always listening!  But I preached the Resurrection and the Life sermon for the benefit of the people standing here THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE that you sent me.”

Then two more commands:  “Lazarus come out,” and “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Lazarus did come out.  The Lord’s words, like at the beginning in Genesis, do what they say.  Lazarus walks out of the grave.  Alive.

Jesus used Lazarus as an object lesson for Mary, Martha, you and me.  Raised him from his graveyard burial to prove that He truly is the Resurrection and the Life.

Consequently, many who witnessed this even “put their faith in Jesus,” (11:45).

Jesus is who is says He is and He does what He promises.  He used Lazarus to prove it.  But even more.  Jesus rose from the grave just as He promised numerous times.  His grave is empty.  He is the firstfruits of them that sleep.

The powers of the law, sin and death do not have the final say.  Jesus does.  He has fulfilled the law.  He has answered for all sin in His Body on the cross.  And in His resurrection He has put death to death.  His victory is Leland’s victory.  Jesus gives it as pure gift to him and to you who believe.

Leland’s body – perishable will be raised imperishable on the Last Day.  It will be raised in glory and power.  From mortality to immortality.

All because of Lord Jesus and what He has done!  He’s done a Good Friday and Easter Sunday for Leland and for you.  Therefore death has no victory.  Death has no sting.  On the Last Day Jesus will bark out one more order.  “Leland!  Get up!  Resurrection Day!”  And His words will do what they say.

“Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life.”

In the Name of Jesus.    

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