Victor Stohs Funeral (Jn 15:5; Jn 6:54, 56)

Picture: Full of Eyes

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Jesus said, “I AM the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, because apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

Jesus rose from the dead. He took death on. Your death. My death. Victor’s death. Every single death. And He won. Every single gravestone over every single grave in every single cemetery does as much good as the stone and the tomb on Easter morning. Nothing! He was dead, but now He lives!

He took on death’s source, too. He took on your sinfulness, and He took on the sins you do daily and much. He made the whole lot His own. Your sinfulness isn’t yours anymore. Your sins aren’t yours anymore. Jesus became your sinfulness. Jesus was labeled as sinner in your place, in Vic’s place, in everyone’s place, and “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

Jesus did it all for you, but it’s not past, though. It’s present, right now. It’s something He delivers to you right now. He won’t leave you alone, abandon you. He’s with you, and you’re with Him. That’s what it means that He’s Vine and you’re a branch. His dying and coming back to life is yours. After all, “I AM the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, because apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Whatever flows out of the Vine pours into the branches, and the branches in turn receive all that the Vine gives. That’s faith: being on the receiving end of the Vine’s giving, Jesus’ giving. Separate, cut off from Him you can’t do anything. Cut a limb off a tree or a branch off a vine, no fruit. In fact, those branches aren’t just unfruitful. They’re dead branches. And branches in the vine or on the tree aren’t just fruitful. They’re alive. They live.

Jesus lives. Apart from Him you can’t do anything. Like live forever with Him in heaven. Apart from Jesus you won’t. But Jesus lives. God swallowed up death by dying and rising. Your sin, your apartness from Him answered for by His own shed blood and His dead, risen, and now living body. You receive all of that from Him—His fruit, His life. All His gift.

So, vine and branches. Jesus and you. Him in you. You in Him. That’s how it goes, but how do you get it? Well, it’s all gift. The whole lot is! Both your “remaining in Him” and His “remaining in you” is a gift.

“Remaining in Him” is a gift. A gift from His Font. As Paul says, “All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death,” and when you are “baptized into Christ, you’re clothed with Christ,” as Paul says. “Clothed with Him.” You can’t get much more “remaining in Him” than that!

His “remaining in you” is yours, too. “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in Him.” Into you and into Victor the Lord has given His body and His blood. This is how He remains in you, and that’s how you “remain in Him” yet again, and again and again. Full gift. The whole lot. All that’s His is yours. He’s your Vine, you’re His branch.

Everything flows from the vine into the branches. Everything flows from Jesus to you. You’re grafted into His cross and empty tomb. That’s Romans 6 from earlier in the service! You’re baptized into His death and coming back to life. “Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.” Jesus makes another promise: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.”

Being on the receiving end of everything Jesus does is faith. Victor’s faith has given way to seeing Jesus face to face. You and I are still waiting, grafted into Jesus, remaining in Him, welded to Him. You remaining in Jesus and Jesus remaining in you is Jesus’ gift to you. He’s the Vine. Victor’s Vine. Your Vine, too. And that means you’re His branch, and that means everything that’s His is yours, flows from Him to you.

“I AM the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, because apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Jesus rose from the dead. Now, every single gravestone over every single grave in every single cemetery does as much good as the stone and the tomb on Easter morning. Nothing! He was dead, but now He lives!

You’re in on that. He’s your Vine, and you’re His branch. Your Redeemer, your Vine lives. He lives for you, and all that’s in the vine flows to the branches. He gives you His eternal life. Given at Baptism. Given in His flesh and blood. Thus He remains in you, and you “remain in Him.”

You’re baptized. You’re in Him. Eternally so. You’re with Him, and He’s with you. That’s what it means to be vine and branches. And you will be with Him forever, too. Where the Vine is that’s where the branches are. Victor’s there now. You’ll be there, too, someday. Have to be! That’s Jesus’ promise.

The Lord’s true to His promises. If He says He’s your Vine, and you’re his branch, then that’s how it is! You are “baptized into Christ.” Victor still is, even forever. You, too. Thanks be to God for that! Jesus, your Vine, gives His own resurrection life to you. And you’ll rise from the dead someday, too. You’re “a child of paradise!”

INI + AMEN.

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