Summary: A funeral sermon of hope. Jesus died - BUT that’s not the end of the story.
He Died - He’s Alive!
What can be said at a time like this? Today we are faced with a multitude of emotions. There is pain and what feels like a emptiness. Some of us are overwhelmed with emotions today: feelings of anger, guilt, disbelief, anxiety; feelings of pain and protest - it is hard to believe that ______ is dead.
We search for the why? And we come to the realization that some-times life feels unfair and we feel so terribly insecure. We come face to face with the reality that someone we loved can be with us one minute and the next minute he/she is gone. And no mater whether there has been a prolonged illness or unexpected event - it just does not seem fair.
For the Christian though, we do find words of comfort in the Bible. Revelation 1:17 says:
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet.... And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
These words should give us a sense of comfort, because first of all we know someone who has fully experienced death - our Lord Jesus Christ. The language in verse 17 is very graphic and very forceful; “Stop being afraid: I became dead,” Jesus tells us that He has experienced all that death can do and that there is no reason for us to keep on fearing it. Having experienced it all, he tells us to stop being afraid of it.
Many things frighten us, but perhaps we fear the unknown most of all. We are concerned about what lies around the corner or what is just over the hill. But I have good news for you - Jesus has returned from that unknown realm, and what are his words of advise? “Stop being afraid of death; I have experienced it.”
Hawaii must be a wonderful place to visit. I have friends who have gone there. They come home and tell me of all they have seen and experienced. I would have no fear in visiting Hawaii because I trust my friends. But you know, I have another dear friend who has died and has experienced the fullness of death. His name is Jesus, He has been there, He has seen the sites and experienced it. His advise - Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.
Notice what else Jesus tells us; “I am the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” Jesus identifies himself as the “Living One” who is alive forever. He will never die again. He conquered death. Death has no more hold on him. It can not hurt him. And if we trust in Christ Jesus, death can-not hurt us either. We have life - eternal life if we are in Jesus Christ. That is the hope we have. That is the assurance we have.
Also, He has gained control of death. Notice that in this verse what it says. It tells us he has “the keys of death and Hades.” He has the keys. What this tells me is that He can open - or He can shut, He can get in - He can get out, He can do as He pleases - because He has the key. I don’t know about you but it is nice to know someone who has the keys. If I want to get in to eternal life - all I have to do is call and he’ll open the door for me. Simple as that.
There is a song we sing in this church, it goes;
Come, every soul by sin oppressed
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest,
By trusting in His word.
Trust in Jesus - He was dead - But He is alive and He has the power to grant eternal life.