As the family and friends of xxxx xxxxxxx we are gathered today in the presence of God both to remember her and to find comfort from the word of God during this time of mourning.
The psalmist wrote, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” and then the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” And for those who wrestle with so many questions as we face the loss of a loved one, the apostle Paul wrote, “For now we see through a glass darkly, someday we shall understand even as we are understood.” This tells us that someday, all of our questions will be answered and everything will be made clear.
Shall we pray: Our Father in heaven, how grateful we are that we have someone as loving and compassionate as You, One who we can turn to in our hour of need. You alone know the thoughts of every heart that’s bowed in your presence and the needs of each. And so I would ask that you comfort all who mourn as only You can. We thank you today xxxx and the influence she had on her family and many friends throughout the years. We pray that her memory might be an inspiration to each of us and that her death will stand to remind us that none of us knows the day nor the hour when our time will come to leave this world.
Grant that in our time here today that each of us would hear the word of God with an open heart and that each of us would respond in a way that’s pleasing to you. For we ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
We are pleased to have two of xxxx’s grandchildren participating in the service at this time. First, xxxx is going too read a eulogy and then xxxx will read a poem.
We’ll have our first selection of music at this time.
xxxx leaves behind her husband, four children and their families as well as many other relatives and a host of friends she has made and kept over the years.
We’ll have the second selection of music at this time.
Our scripture today is found in John 19:17-20 where it says, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.”
One of the most striking things about the four accounts of Jesus’ death in the Gospels is the absence of sensationalism. In other word’s there were no death defying acts of heroism, there were no great speeches to challenge or teach us, there were no moderators that stand off to the side and describe in vivid detail every little thing that happened. And there wasn’t even a demonstration from heaven that would show us the horror of God at the death of His Son or even the anger of the angels. All that’s here is the simple story of three men being crucified and the one in the centre is the Son of God.
And I think the physical suffering of Jesus; was the worse kind of torture that any man has ever devised as a means of execution and as we look at this we don’t want to minimize His agony any more than we want to amplify what the writers are silent about, but at the same time, the four gospel accounts make us wonder; why isn’t there more emphasis on the physical torture and the horrendous abuse that Jesus suffered?
And, we can assume that the physical torture He went through was extreme because before Jesus was even taken to the place of crucifixion He had been beaten and tortured by the soldiers so bad that He collapsed on the way to Calvary and a man by the name of Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry His cross.
So, the first question that comes to my mind is; why didn’t John or any of the other gospel writers tell us the specifics of what happened while Jesus was put to death for your sins and mine?
And I would suggest three reasons as to why we aren’t told more. And the first is that the physical suffering of Jesus was just a very small part of what He had to endure. After all, the physical pain was what men were able to impose on Him; but I think the greatest suffering He had to go through was the spiritual agony He endured when He who knew no sin became sin for us. I mean, He took on Himself all the sin of the world and since He was pure and sinless; the experience of His taking on sin must have been the most repulsive and excruciating thing He could have ever experienced.
And yet, the scripture tells us that Jesus took our place in order to save us from everything we’ve consciously or even unconsciously done to offend God and in His suffering and death He experienced the eternal wrath of God.
So, compared to His spiritual suffering, His physical suffering would have been miniscule in comparison. And there are many who assume that the three hours of darkness that covered the world during the crucifixion was God’s way of turning out the lights so we wouldn’t be able to see what Jesus had to endure.
The second reason we weren’t told more is because there’s really no way that you or I could possibly comprehend or understand even a little of God’s wrath. Many of us have tried to imagine what heaven will be like and yet, no matter how hard we try or how far we let our imaginations run wild, our minds always fall far short of grasping anything of the glory or beauty of heaven. As 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Listen, heaven is so wonderful; it’s simply beyond our comprehension.
I like how one theologian said, “I can’t describe all the furniture of heaven anymore than I can tell you the temperature of hell but I’m not going to let what I don’t understand affect my choice.”
They have quotes on the side of Starbucks coffee cups and one in particular was by a guy by the name of Joel Stein and he said, “Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring, all those fluffy clouds and listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go like a luxury hotel. Maybe blues skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century but heaven has to step it up a bit. They’re basically getting by because they only have to be a little better than hell.” And when I read that I thought, nothing could be farther from the truth because the writer is assuming things God hasn’t told anyone except, this verse says, “You’ve never seen anything like you’re going to see in heaven. You’re going to hear things you’ve never heard on earth and you’re mind can’t even get around the wonderful things God has in store for you.” So, why didn’t He tell us more? I think; if He did, our minds would be so pre-occupied with heaven that we’d never get anything done on earth.
Did you know that Jesus spoke about hell more than He did about heaven? And yet, there’s many people who’ll say, there’s no such thing as hell but either Jesus was telling the truth about hell or we can’t believe Him about heaven either. We can’t just say the truth is what we believe.
Listen, hell is real and it’s going to be filled with people who’ve ignored God’s invitation to enjoy heaven and do you know what the worst part is? You can only ignore it for so long and then you become oblivious to the message.
I remember when I lived in Cape Breton my Aunt Phemie used to have a house that was about 50 feet from the railroad tracks. And every night about 10:15 the train would go by and you could feel the whole house shake and because it was only about an eighth of a mile from the crossing at Main Street the conductor would pull the cord and the big horns would almost blow you out of your chair. But, do you know what the strange part was? After you were there for about two weeks you didn’t even notice the train. You learned to ignore it.
And then I remember when I moved into my apartment on Bloor Street in Toronto and the traffic would roll by my front window all day and all night and if the window was open you couldn’t even carry on a conversation because there was so much noise but after I lived there for two or three weeks I didn’t even notice it. It’s amazing what you can get used to.
You see, we block things out all the time. We block out things that aggravate us, things that annoy us and even things that scare us. And we can do the same with God. We can ignore Him so long that we don’t seem to hear Him at all.
Listen, there is a place called hell and I know hell is one of those subjects that we all feel a little uncomfortable with and I think we should. The word of God tells us that hell is real, it’s awful, it’s eternal and it’s crowded. And the good news is, no one has to go there unless they choose to and everyone and I mean everyone has a choice.
Jesus described hell as such a place of horror that you would be better cutting off a hand or gauging out an eye rather than to end up in that awful place. And listen, the only way to escape hell is by becoming a child of God so you can go to heaven.
And do you know what the strange thing is? There are only two choices. I remember when I was a kid and I didn’t like what we were having for supper, my mother would say, “There are only two choices, you can take it or you can leave it.” And here God says, “You can have the most wonderful experience for all of eternity that’s simply beyond description or you can have the worst torture imaginable that’s going to last forever. God says, here they are, and now you have to make your choice. So, which one do you want?
So, the physical suffering Jesus endured was minimal compared to His spiritual suffering and the reason we weren’t told more about it was there’s no way you or I could ever comprehend what He went through and then third, maybe from God’s perspective; our knowing how much Jesus actually suffered would cause us needless suffering. I’m a husband and a father and I can say that I don’t like to suffer but it’s even more painful for me to have to watch either my wife or one of my children going through something rather than going through it myself.
But, what I want you to understand is that the purpose of Jesus’ suffering was to pay the penalty for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to endure any penalty that He’s already paid. Listen, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life and then He has an even better plan for your afterlife but don’t keep putting Him off till it’s too late.
I remember when I was younger, I was the youngest in the family so my grandmother told me it was my responsibility to go to church every Sunday and that way the family was represented and I have to be honest, it was the most boring waste of time I have ever experienced. And then when I was older I got involved in drugs and all that goes with it and one night a man told me Jesus had died for my sins and that if I’d ask Him to forgive me for all My sin He’d not only forgive me but He’d come into my life and change it and He did. And now, I know I’m saved for time and I’m saved for all of eternity. And let me ask you before I close, what if today was your funeral and your life had come to an end; would God say, welcome home or depart from Me, I never knew you?
Closing prayer: And now our Father we pray that You would seal these words to our hearts and help each of us respond in a way that’s pleasing to You. For we ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
There will be a time of fellowship and refreshments here; following the committal which will take place in the xxxx Cemetery.
“And now, may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. Amen.”