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Larry Roeber Funeral

May 11, 2019

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Saturday of Easter 3                              Trinity Lutheran Church

11 May 2019                                            Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +



1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Funeral of Larry Leon Roeber

 I love this text. Especially today! There’s no better time for it when we’re hurting so much and shedding a few tears. Because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life – (did you hear me?) – because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life the blessed apostle Paul confidently gets right in death’s face and stares it down. Why? Well, because death and the grave do not win! They have lost. Jesus has put death and the grave to death in His death and resurrection. Death and the grave do not have the last word or say so. Resurrection and the Life Jesus does!


So, Paul gets in the death’s grill and mocks death by categorically declaring from Isaiah 25: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Yes, that’s right! Death is gobbled up, wolfed down, scarfed down in the victory of Jesus’ glorious resurrection!


So, with St. Paul, as we attend Larry’s funeral and committal, we too ridicule, scorn and deride death with these rhetorical questions: “O death, where is YOUR victory? O death, where is YOUR sting?”


Death and the grave are now hapless. Powerless. Toothless.


I’m here to tell you that because of Jesus – because of His resurrection – death and the grave cannot hold Larry and any of you who believe in Him.


Oh, yes “the sting of death is sin” and the “power of sin is the law,” but Good Friday Jesus has answered for all of Larry’s sin and all of your sin too in His on-the-cross death. In addition, for your sake as well as Larry’s, Jesus has Good Friday-ly endured the law’s condemnation in His body hanging on the cross. Your salvation, Larry’s salvation, depends on Jesus taking all your sin in His crucified body and answering for it’s damnation with His divine sacrificed and shed blood.


So I say it again. And it’s what you need to hear today. Death and the grave have lost. You and Larry are the winners. And all the credit goes to the Lord. Listen. “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Did you hear that? “Gives us the victory.” It’s all gift. That’s God’s cup of tea. He’s always giving gifts. Gave Larry the gift of life, his body and soul, eyes, ears and all his members, his reason and his senses. Gave His Son Jesus as the one and only sacrifice that atoned for the sin of the world including Larry’s. Gave Larry His divine and saving name in holy baptism. Gave Larry faith in Jesus for salvation. Gave him the saving message of the gospel in preaching and absolution. Fed Larry with His Son’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper with the promise that his sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. Gave him eternal life even now as Jesus Himself promises: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”


So, we are here to today to celebrate victory. Not ours. Not Larry’s. But the victory-kingdom-of-God-reign of Jesus over death and the grave for Larry and for all those who believe in Him.


Now let’s use a farming analogy. I think Larry would appreciate it. Jesus, like a seed, was planted/buried in the tomb of his death. But that was not the end. He, like a seed, sprouted and burst forth from the tomb on the Third Day. In a few minutes, we will plant Larry’s body into the ground like a seed. But Larry’s buried body bears Christ’s salvational victory for him! His entombed or planted body will germinate in the ground for a while. And then on the Last Day, at Christ’s command, Larry’s body will sprout and break forth from his grave!


So gentlemen, every time you plant and harvest (you’re in the thick of planting right now) I want you to think of two things. First, the death and resurrection of Jesus for you and for Larry. Second, Larry’s death and resurrection for Jesus’ sake.


This is the specific end time or Last day fruit of Christ’s victory for Larry. It is the resurrection of the body. On the Last Day when the trumpet sounds “we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” Yes, when Jesus reveals Himself in glory on the Last Day, “we shall be changed.” The perishable body will put on the imperishable. The mortal will put on immortality.


If you’re picking up what the apostle Paul is throwing down, you now know that all our prayers for Larry’s bodily healing have not gone unheard or unanswered. For Jesus’ sake – because of Jesus’ victory for Larry — all our fervent praying for Larry’s recovery and physical restoration while he was in the hospital will be answered on the Last Day when the Lord Jesus will raise his body from the grave. When Jesus gives Larry and all believers a perfect, sinless, never to die again body!


Yes, on the Day of Resurrection, our eyes will see that Jesus wasn’t bluffing or joking when He stood at Lazarus’ grave, raised Lazarus from his tomb, and then declared: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”   He really is.


He broke death’s jaw in His resurrection on the Third Day. Consequently, Resurrection and the Life Jesus delivers Larry from the grave’s death grip. Just wait. You have Christ’s unthwartable promise!


So, when we, believers in Jesus, march out to the cemetery today we will pull a St. Paul from 1 Corinthians 15. Because of Jesus and what He has done for us, we will assertively get in death’s grill, poke our index fingers in death’s face and mock this defeated enemy saying: “O death, where is YOUR victory? O death, where is YOUR sting? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”




In the Name of Jesus.




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