Lee Derby Funeral
Monday of Pentecost 6 Trinity Lutheran Church
21 July 2014 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Lee Derby Funeral
Well, right off the bat Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter. He preaches a good and salutary sermon. Would you expect anything less? Of course not. He knows what to say and when to say it.
In addition, Jesus’ words are not just the words of a man. They are the living words of God Himself. Therefore, what Jesus preaches is certain and sure. No better time to hear a sermon from Jesus than today. Today these are His words FOR YOU: “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”
“Believe also in me,” He says. Why? Well, because He’s the Savior. Who pulled off the best Friday and Sunday in the history of the world. Good Friday. Easter Sunday. Death. Resurrection. He did what it took to save sinners. To save you. To redeem Lee: farmer, bus driver, Cowboy Coffee and all around Mr. Fixit.
Now I want you to listen very carefully. The Father’s Heavenly House of Many Mansions depends on Jesus His Son taking all your sin – Lee’s sin – in His body on the Cross in order to answer for it. Where He atoned for all sin with the cleansing, scrubbing power of His divine blood. Buried it all in the black hole of His tomb. If Jesus didn’t do that, if He didn’t carry all your sins in His Body and cover them with His blood on the cross, then you’d have to carry them, die with them and be damned in them.
But He did do it. He did do the Good Friday dying FOR YOU! Your sin is His! Your sin doesn’t belong to you anymore. Your sins are defeated sins – conquered sins – forgiven sins – because of Jesus! Salvation, not damnation, is yours. That’s why the Friday on which He died is so wonderfully good! Jesus put it this way in the text: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Nothing better than to belong to the crucified but risen Jesus through faith. That’s exactly why He preaches: “Believe also in me.”
Believe in Jesus. He is the Savior. He is an inclusive Savior, that is to say, He died for all sinners: me, you, Lee, an entire world full! He didn’t leave any sinner out of His Good Friday dying. He didn’t exempt any sin from His forgiveness. He is also an exclusive Savior, that is to say, He’s the only one. He put it this way in his sermon full of promises, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and that, “no one comes to the Father except through me.”
Every time I visited Lee in the hospital or at the care center I preached this Way, the Truth, and the Life Jesus to him. Especially the Lord’s promise of Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” I specifically told him that Jesus wanted him to believe His promises so that he would leave that care center room for another heavenly one in peace. After all, Jesus promised him a room in heaven prepared personally and exclusively by Him who died and rose for him. And the time for Lee’s leaving or moving in was sooner rather than later.
As I preached to Lee, so now I preach to you today. The sermon today is really for you. For your ears. For your hearts. I beseech you today. Listen to Jesus who says to you: “Believe also in me.” Or as the resurrected-with-all-His-wounds-showing-Jesus proclaimed to Thomas a week after His resurrection: “Do not be unbelieving, but believing,” (Jn 20:27).
After all, by believing that Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that is to say, the Savior, you have life in His name.
I can’t help myself. One more promise from the Way, the Truth, and the Life Jesus. This one from John 11. It was the holy gospel for today. And Jesus audaciously dared to preach it after His best friend Lazarus was dead and buried. Listen. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Believe that dear friends! That’s His promise FOR YOU. As you believe so you have.
Now, let’s get ready to pray and give thanks to Jesus, put Lee to bed one last time – cover him up and tuck him in – in the bed that is his grave at the cemetery, say our last goodbyes, have lunch and faithfully trust Jesus’ promises. What He promises today we will see fulfilled with our eyes at the resurrection of the body on the Last Day. Promises like we heard today: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
No one has any better words of promise than that!
In the Name of Jesus.