Jim Hoestje Funeral (1 Pt 1:3–9)

Photo by Paul Zoetemeijer on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

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

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” We bless Him because Jesus is risen from the dead. He really is. Jesus was dead—crucified for our sins. Now, He really is alive. He came back to life on the Third Day.

But Jesus’ Father wasn’t satisfied with that. Certainly He was pleased with His Son’s sacrifice, raising Him from the dead, but He wasn’t satisfied to stop there. No, Jesus’ Father is merciful toward you and me, as He was merciful towards Jim, too. He doesn’t just send His Son, Jesus, to die and rise for us. He wants us to have Jesus’ death and resurrection as our own, to make it ours, deliver it to us.

And that’s exactly what He does. “He caused us to be born again.” That’s Holy Baptism. There through the water and the Word Jesus’ Father became our Father. There we were clothed with Christ, buried into His death and raised in His resurrection. There the Spirit was given us. There we were made “heirs of eternal life,” given our “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance.”

That’s what Baptism has done for you, when “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” was given you as a gift, even as God gifted it to Jim. Now you are God’s baptized child. Jesus is your brother. The Holy Spirit keeps you in the true faith through the forgiveness of sins until He delivers to you the “resurrection of the body and the life everlasting” on the Last Day when Jesus “will be revealed,” coming again “to judge the living and the dead.”

We have trials in this life. Jim certainly did. Sadly they seem to multiplying in these grey and latter days, “when the love of many has grown cold.” Whether our trials are physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual they will not endure. They are not forever. They are not lasting or ultimately defining of who we are. Who we are isn’t defined by what we suffer, by the good we do, by the sins we commit, or even our own death. Those things are worthless, trash, and dust.

“The genuineness of your faith” is what’s more precious than gold. Not because of how precious your faith is, but because of what your faith clings to, trusts. Your faith, Jim’s faith, is in Christ Jesus who “redeemed us not with perishable things like silver or gold” but “with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death,” “like a lamb without spot or blemish.” And your faith receives those things as they were delivered to you at the baptismal font. Jesus died. Jesus rose. Jesus baptized you. That’s what’s true and lasting.

You love this Jesus. You haven’t seen Him. One day you will. As Paul puts it, “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” Jesus has died and risen for you. Our trust is in Him. He’s shown Himself trustworthy. He keeps His promises. Good Friday and Easter prove that. His dead body on the cross, and His empty tomb three days later are proof of that. So is your Baptism, which gave all that salvation to you.

THE LORD KEEPS HIS BAPTISMAL PROMISE TO YOU. He keeps all His promises. Christ died and risen. You baptized. You die and rise, too. You really will. It’s all safe and secure in Jesus. It’s kept in heaven for you. Jesus does that. “I go to prepare a place for you.” You’re kept in that faith and promise. The Spirit does that here and now. Baptism. Word. Jesus’ body and blood. You were born again in Baptism, “born of water and the Spirit,” there “an heir of eternal life,” and you will rise on the last day, too. Jesus by the Holy Spirit will bring our bodies back to life. Your body that received the water and your soul that trusts His Word in that water will be reunited, then you will see Jesus. With your own eyes you’ll see Him, as Job says.

THE LORD KEEPS HIS BAPTISMAL PROMISE TO YOU. To give you eternal life and raise you from the dead. He’s kept it for Jim. He’ll keep it for you, too. Jesus is risen from the dead, and you’re baptized. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

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

INI + AMEN.

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