Elvira Kruse Funeral (Jn 11:17–44)

January 10, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!


Full of vim and vigor, clear minded, beloved, well liked, never really that sick, but all of a sudden the end came. Maybe it was surprising to some, but there was someone it wasn’t surprising to: Jesus. Jesus knew when Lazarus was going to die. Lazarus’ time was in Jesus’ hands. He knew the exact moment that He would take Lazarus into eternity. That’s what Jesus knows.

So it was for Elivra. She’d been waiting for it for some time, now. Jesus knew from the very beginning that her 98 years, 1 month, and 6 days would end on January 4th. He knew that. He did! She was waiting. He was ready. Made it ready! Made her ready! Now, she’s united to Him forever, to Him who said to Elvira, who says to you, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

For 98 years, 1 month, and 4 days, she did nothing without Him, for He had grafted her into Himself in Holy Baptism. She knew the voice of her dear Shepherd, and nothing was able to snatch her from His hand, not even death.

Now, Jesus knows something else about Elvira. For Elvira it’s just like it was for Lazarus. Jesus knew the exact moment Lazarus would die, and He also knew the exact moment He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He also knows when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will raise Elvira from the dead. He knows because as He said in our Gospel reading, “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.” He doesn’t just know all of this about Elvira. He knows this about each of you, too.


((I. He’s Elvira’s resurrection.))

Jesus was certainly Elvira’s resurrection in this life. Throughout her life, He was continually raising her up in newness of life. He died and rose for her, and He first raised her up in Holy Baptism. He kept enlivening her through His Holy, Precious Word. He gave her of His own life—His body and blood—the promise and guarantee that He would “raise her up on the Last Day,” just as He is risen from the dead and now lives forever and ever.

He enlivened her to serve, to serve you, her beloved family. To serve you as mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. She kept track of you all. She kept track of the whole family—past and present. It was amazing. You know all the little ways and big ways that she served and loved you. Jesus enlivened her to do it because He loves you, like He does her.

But, more importantly, Jesus enlivened her in faith. He enlivened her to trust that He died and rose for her. He did this because He doesn’t just want to be Elvira’s resurrection in this life, but He wants to be her resurrection forever in the life to come. And He is! She lives in Him. He will raise her body from the dead, He will glorify it, just as He His is risen from the dead and glorified. He will do that for her, even as she is with Him now and forever.

((II. He’s your resurrection.))

But Jesus isn’t just Elvira’s resurrection. He’s yours, too! He’s rescued you from sin and death. He died and rose for you. He conquered death. Not just His but yours! “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.” He’s enlivening you, saving you, in all the same ways that He enlivened and saved Elvira. He’s baptized you, He’s giving you His Word, He delivers His body and blood to you.

He’s enlivened you to serve and love those around you, of course, but more importantly He’s keeping you in the faith, strengthening your trust in Him. Jesus is doing this, and He does it by sending the Spirit to work in His Gifts. This will keep you body soul unto life everlasting. Jesus will raise you up, too! When you will die, He will take you to Himself, and He will resurrect your body on the Last Day. Then you will see Him face to face, the eyes you have now will see Him. You’ll see His smiling face, along with Job, Paul, John, Lazarus, and Elvira, as He presents you glorious and perfect to His heavenly Father.

Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He’s your resurrection just as He is for Elvira. You will die, but you will live. You have to! Jesus rose! He was dead, and He’s not anymore! He’s given you that in Water, Word, Body and Blood. He gave it to Elivra, and one day—the Last Day—Elvira’s grave, your grave, will be empty just like Lazarus’, just like Jesus’ when He brings you body and soul to Himself forever.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!


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