Summary: Funeral Sermon for one who has died in the Lord
JOB 19:25-27 “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES!
There are two sure things in this world – death and taxes. It seems strange to find ourselves wishing that we were gathered together to talk about taxes. But that is not the case. 73 years ago, the Lord gave life to Marvin Buysse; but now he has brought that life to an end. The Patriarch Job was a believer in the Lord whose life had taken a drastic turn. In a short period of time, Job went from a healthy and wealthy to poverty and misery. He was covered with sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Job was a mere shadow of his former self, even praying for death so that he might find relief from his misery.
Even though we constantly see evidence of death in our world, we do not have to fear it or to face it without hope. Job was barely alive, but he still confessed a faith which Marvin also confessed: “I know that my Redeemer lives.” He conquered death for us; and he guarantees life to us.
I. He Conquered Death For Us.
When we call our Lord “our Redeemer,” that is more than a sentimental title. To redeem means to buy back, to rescue or to save by paying a ransom. In other words, we had to be saved. From what? From sin, from death, and from hell. Everyone who is born into this world comes into it a sinner – totally corrupt. We are incapable of not sinning. We’ve all heard people say, “Nobody’s perfect;” and that’s true. Nobody is holy. But that is exactly what God demands of all of us. Our Lord proclaims to us the consequence of failing to be holy, of sinning: “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) In other words, by sinning we earn death. And when we die, we must give an answer to God why we have not obeyed him. Since we have not been holy as God demands, we earn his punishment. We earn a place in hell.
Like you and me and that Patriarch, Job, Marvin was a sinner. He confessed that every time I went to visit him, to share the Word of God with him and to give him the precious food of our Savior’s body and blood in the Sacrament. But like Job, Marvin also confessed, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25) Like you and me and the Patriarch Job, Marvin had a Redeemer. He is the one who saves us from sin, death, and hell by paying a ransom price. God the Son became a man to offer himself as the ransom price for the sins of all the world. When we are referring to Jesus Christ, we can’t say, “Nobody’s perfect,” because Jesus was. By his holy life, Jesus fulfilled all the demands that God makes in his commandments. He earned God’s pleasure. Instead, he accepted our sin as his own and suffered and died under God’s curse in our place. That was the price of redemption – the life of the Son of God. He received our death for us, but then he conquered death for us.
Job confessed, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25) We don’t have a Redeemer who was conquered by death. We have a Redeemer who conquered death for us. The Bible reminds us, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) His death was the ransom price for our sins. But how do we know the ransom was enough? Jesus Christ rose from the dead. If his payment were not enough to conquer death, Jesus would still be in a tomb somewhere in Israel. But that is not the case. “I know that my Redeemer lives!” Death does not have the last word. Jesus does! His resurrection declares that our sins are forgiven. The wages of sin have been paid by him. Therefore, we do not need to fear death or hell. Our Redeemer has saved us from those threats through his perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection.
II. He Guarantees Life To Us.
It was about 73 years ago that our Redeemer applied that ransom directly to Marvin when he was baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. All that Christ did was given to Marvin at his baptism – the forgiveness of sins and the righteous status he needed to enter heaven. The Bible reminds us, “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Throughout his life, God kept him in his grace through word and sacrament. In attending church to hear God’s word, in catechism instruction, in decades of being nourished by Holy Communion, Marvin was kept in God’s grace. Even when Marvin attended Bible classes, reading his Bible at home, reading Meditations for daily devotions, he was strengthened by the Savior’s promises. The living Redeemer was with Marvin throughout his 73 years, and now he has given him the eternal life that he promised him.