Summary: This is a funeral sermon. God is not the author of death but that Satan is. Many families will ask "Why"... I try to answer that question.... noting that at death the body is separated from the soul and Jesus has overcome. I add the story of the "fork"
In Jesus Holy Name
Text: John 14:1-3
“Hope and Joy – Resurrection Reality”
As a congregation we just celebrated one of the two most important events in Christianity. Easter. The day Jesus rose from death and the grave. ______ loved Jesus. He was at his church for Easter. It was great day. He helped with the Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. He celebrated Holy Communion on Easter.
Each Sunday at the end of Holy Communion, I always say: “Depart in Peace and joy, living and walking with Jesus until you are “privileged to stand in His Presence.” _______ has arrived at his eternal address.
Christianity does not proclaim on Easter: “The tomb is empty.” We proclaim: “He is Risen!” It is true that Christianity proclaims the “cross and empty tomb.” But the empty tomb without the cross would mean nothing. And the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross without the resurrected body of Jesus leaving the tomb empty….. would also mean nothing.
An empty tomb, a burial shroud left behind, can not in and of themselves bring peace to one’s heart regarding humanity’s basic two (2) problems:
1) How can I find peace with God? broken commandments bring alienation. 2) Is there life beyond the grave?
The answer is Jesus, his forgiveness offered at the cross and his resurrection from death and the grave.
The message of Christianity is: He is risen! He is risen indeed! If there was no resurrection from death there would be no hope. The Apostle Paul knew that days like today bring grief. Sadness. Loss. Emptiness. Tears.
He writes to Christians like you who had lost loved ones to death. “I do not want you to grieve like the rest of mankind who are void of hope. For we know and believe that Jesus rose from death and the grave.” Therefore encourage one another.
Jesus rose from death and so he could say: “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.”
These words of Jesus are true, but for the family, ______________.. The sudden death of ________________ shakes your world. Yes it was unexpected, overwhelming, and now life just stops for a while. There is an emptiness that leaves a void. Life is filled with sadness and grief. Tears burn and words come slowly as visitors to the canyon’s edge are forced to stare into the ravine. Hundreds of decisions must be made at the end of life, even when we are not ready. They are never easy decisions.
There will always be a hole in your heart. Life will go on but it will not be the same. We do not want the ones we love to be forgotten. Your mind will be filled with memories which once were but will never be again. Tears will come again, next week, next month, next birthday. It is OK.
Through your shock and grief decisions had to be made. I know you are still wrestling with the “Why”. The real “why” is: “why” now. “why” he was so young….so much life ahead.
Death is a sure reality…we all know that to be true… at the same time we all hope to live into our 80’s & 90’s. No matter our age…we cannot escape. So “why”.
Let me explain. When God created human beings we were created to live forever. Adam was a lump of clay until God “breathed” life into him. This breath of life is our soul. The human body and soul were created by God to live forever. It is our sin that breaks the body apart from the soul. God told us in Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome. “The wages of sin is death.”
Rich or poor. Famous or forgotten. Christian or non Christian. Death is not a respecter of persons. It will never arrive at the time of our choosing. It will come for everyone we love. As you know it began in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God’s one command. We know that when a Christian’s heart stops beating, when the brain waves cease….. the soul is separated from the human body.
Include story of the fork
Now I’m sure that _______ did have a few broken commandments in his journey through life…. We all have broken some of God’s commandments. The Bible reminds us that it is Satan and sin which brings death to the human body but not the soul. The soul, our spirit, never dies. _______ knew that his broken commandments were erased by the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus came to break Satan’s grip of death.