Sermons

Elvenor Pralle Funeral (Jn 11:17–44)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

That’s what Jesus does. He can’t not. With His Father, He created life. The Holy Spirit comes from Jesus and His Father, and the Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Life is a gift. It was never meant to be a temporary gift—live awhile, maybe a long while (91 years!), and then die.

That’s not the sort of gift the Lord wanted. But now that’s what we’ve got: sin and death. “Sin came into the world through [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned,” as Paul says.

But the Lord upends all that. He can’t not. He gives life. Life isn’t temporary—never meant to be. But let me tell you what is temporary. Death. “Passing from death to life” is what the Lord Jesus gives. That’s His promise from John 5:24, and His promise in John 11, our Gospel reading, today. Death is and will be temporary. Not life. That’s eternal. It’s all because

JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD.

((I. He delivers life in His Gifts.))

Jesus hates sin and death. So He was born, was baptized, was tempted, lived a perfect life in our place, “was crucified, died, and was buried. He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,” and now “He lives and reigns, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” Through His doing all that He upends sin and death. Sin: paid for by His blood. Death: undone. His tomb: empty. He did that for Elevenor, for you, for me, and for all. That’s His love for us, and He hates sin and death so much to bear sin and go through death to save us.

Now, JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD. To all who are “dead in trespasses and sins” He delivers life. He does it in His Gifts. His Baptism, His Absolution, His Supper are full of Him and His life. They deliver His forgiveness; they deliver His death and resurrection. We trust Him and His Gifts because of His promises. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” “If you forgive anyone His sins, they are forgiven.” “Take, eat; take drink—My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.”

JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD. He delivers life in His Gifts.

((II. He delivers life on the Last Day.))

But that’s not all for Jesus. He’s not done. Didn’t you hear how much He hates death? “When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’”

Jesus hates death. What it does to Lazarus and Elvenor. What it does to Martha and Mary, to you, too! It doesn’t matter if you hold it together like Martha, or are barely hanging on like Mary. Jesus weeps with you. His tears sanctify ours. It’s okay to hate death. Jesus does.

But Jesus doesn’t just hate death. He does something about it. He can’t not. He must. “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’”

Yes, Lazarus would rise on the Last Day. But Jesus is the Resurrection, and so He raises Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus is a preview of the Last Day. That Day Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, will resurrect Lazarus again. He’ll resurrect Mary and Martha. He’ll resurrect Elvenor. You and me, too, if He doesn’t return before we die.

What happened with Lazarus will happen on the Last Day, “Come, out!” And the dead in Christ will rise first, and those left will be changed. But no matter what—never to die again, just like Jesus. Death will be gone. Won’t even be remembered. The very tears you’re shedding today will be wiped away and forgotten.

JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD. He delivers life on the Last Day.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” That’s what Jesus does. JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD. He delivers it in His Gifts. In His Baptism, Absolution, Supper of His body and blood, Jesus in many and various ways delivers His death and resurrection, which save us from sin and death. Not just now, but Last Day, too!

This is temporary. Death will be dead. Life isn’t temporary. Life’s eternal because of Jesus. We trust Him and His promises. He’s true to them. Empty tomb proves that. He’s true to His water and His body and blood. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.”

JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD, indeed!

INI + AMEN.

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