Summary: This is a grave site service for a believer in Jesus Christ, but also a veteran. It talks about two graveyards, two resurrections and our future resurrection. It also talks about heaven as the place where a belivers heart longs to be.
Funeral – Grave Site Service
As I stand in this graveyard and before this grave I remember another graveyard and the person who was buried there. And many of his friends and family were there to mourn the loss of their friend and loved one as well.
The man’s name was Lazarus.
Right after his death his two sisters, Mary and Martha sent his dear friend, Jesus. It was several days later that Jesus arrived and both Mary and Martha met him.
Martha said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” (John 11:21-22)
And Jesus replied, “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. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
And then Jesus said, “Lazarus come forth.”
And Lazarus came out from the grave.
I stand here and affirm with Martha who said prior to her brother’s resurrection: “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)
And it was this same affirmation that Jim made long ago when He believed in Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, and accepted Him as his Savior and Lord, and it is with this belief that he, like Lazarus, will one day be raised from the dead.
And that’s because of what happened in another graveyard not many days thereafter.
Jesus had died upon the cross with these words upon his lips, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,” and “It is finished.”
Jesus’ redemptive work for mankind’s sins had been accomplished, and through His death our sins can be forgiven.
And Jesus was buried, and the tomb was sealed, but three days later Jesus rose from the dead and is alive.
And this is the hope and promise that Jim lived his life in, the resurrection, which now sees him in heaven, the very place the human heart longs to be, and that Jim desired.
The old gospels called it “The Land of No Mores.” Where the suffering, pain, and heartache that accompany us in this life are gone, and there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears, but only everlasting joy and peace.
But there’s another resurrection that’s coming in which Jim also believed and hoped in, and it’s the hope of every believer in Jesus Christ. And that is the fact that Jesus is coming again, and then all those who have died that their bodies shall be raised up to life.
Saul of Tarsus, he that we know as the Apostle Paul said,
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
And the reason is because of this resurrection. He goes on to say,
“(For) the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
And so my prayer is that these words and the knowledge of Jim’s faith in Jesus Christ comfort you this morning. And while we mourn our loss today, the bible says that we do not have to mourn as those who have no hope, because Jim’s hope was in the Lord, and it is in the Lord’s arms that Jim is at this very moment.
Jim’s labors here upon the earth have come to an end, and now he is in heaven.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
I’d like to end with the Psalm Jim always repeated when he stood where I am standing now presiding over the death of one of his comrades in arms. It’s Psalm 23
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;