Sermons

Lorna Friedrichs Funeral (Jn 10:22–30)

January 14, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

Listen to the words spoken to Lorna 71 years ago when she was confirmed, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” The “good part” is Christ Jesus Himself. Lorna had chosen Him because He had already chosen her. In the waters of Holy Baptism, Jesus made her His. He’d died and risen for her, and He called her by name November 8, 1931. She was His, and He was hers. She knew the voice of her dear shepherd, as all His sheep do: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” As much as she liked to sing, to her, the shepherd’s voice was more precious, more beautiful. It was His voice, heard in the Bible, that she wanted to be surrounded by.

So also we are surrounded by His voice today. We hear Him speak in the readings, in the psalm. Our Good Shepherd leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. He’s already lead Lorna through it. That’s His promise. A promise delivered on in Holy Baptism. The promise of Holy Baptism is that

JESUS BRINGS HIS SHEEP TO HIMSELF FOREVER.

((I. That’s His eternal promise.))

This isn’t just any old promise. You can take it to the bank. It’s a promise that never runs out, never ends. It’s an eternal promise. It has to be an eternal promise because of what’s promised. The promise is eternal life: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” It’s no good if it’s temporary promise, but it is no temporary promise. JESUS BRINGS HIS SHEEP TO HIMSELF FOREVER. He’s done this for Lorna. He’ll keep the promise for you and me, too!

Not only that, listen to what He says, “neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” We’re in Jesus’ hands, we’re in the Father’s hands, and there’s nothing that can or will remove us—not even death!

Oh, we may die. But the Good Shepherd, the One who’s died and is alive again, isn’t one to let anything get in the way of keeping His sheep safe and secure. Death! He took care of that problem. He Himself died. He Himself came back to life. That’s His promise to His sheep, too! “I AM the Resurrection and the Life,” He says. Death won’t keep you from Him, not only because when a sheep dies they’re with Him, but because He will raise His dear lamb’s body from the dead. It will be this way for Lorna. It will be this way for you and me, too.

It’s Baptism’s promise. There Lorna and we were buried and raised with Christ. The end of Baptism’s promise is “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” That will be on the Last Day. On that day, “He, the Lord, who came to save Will at last His own assemble. They will go their Lord to meet, Treading death beneath their feet.” (LSB 741:7)

((II. How do we know?)) (25)

The promise of eternal life, of a resurrected life, body and soul forever with Him, is what Jesus promises to all of His dear lambs. But how do we know? How do we know when were sitting here with a casket before our eyes, or when we’re standing before an open grave? How do we know that Jesus keeps these promises?

We want Him to tell us plainly. When “opened-eyed our grave is staring,” it’s then that His Words of “Resurrection” and “Life” seem the most empty. How can such a sudden death befall someone so faithful? “Are you the promised One who keeps His promises or not? Tell us plainly in Words that we can understand in times like this.”

“I told you,” He says, “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” It’s in His works that we know that Jesus is true to His promises, that He came to fulfill is Father’s will of redeeming the whole world. It’s in His death for our sins, for our doubts. It’s clearly in His empty tomb—a grave that bit off more than it could chew. He left that tomb empty. Well, the grave clothes were there. He did that. He did it for you, for me, for Lorna, for the whole world!

But His works weren’t done. He’s at work in His gifts. These deliver His salvation. His Baptism, His Absolution, His Supper. He prepares His table to save us from our enemies of sin, sickness, death, grave, devil, and hell. He secured an eternal cure for all our ills on Good Friday and Easter. That’s the kind of Good Shepherd He is: He lays down His life for the sheep and takes it up again. He delivers His cure to us in His gifts. Gifts that He used to deliver His eternal cure to Lorna, who is with Him now forever, and one day who will be with Him body and soul forever.

Jesus is the “good part” that Lorna chose because He chose her. She is His, and He is hers. He’s yours, too because you’re His! He won’t be taken from you. He’s your good Shepherd. He’s Lorna’s Good Shepherd, too. He surrounded her with that Word. It’s a curing Word whether it’s tied to Water, Word, or body and blood. Whether the Word’s on the tip of your tongue or the tips of your fingers. He surrounds you with Himself. You’re His. Nothing can change that, and JESUS BRINGS HIS SHEEP TO HIMSELF FOREVER.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

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