Rich Schotte Funeral (Jn 10,14–18, 27–30; Job 19, 23–27; Rom 8)

Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

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

Jesus knows. He knows everything. He knows what you’re going through. He knows your grief. He knows your relief. He knows your second-guessings. He knows your tears. He knows your fears. He knows your prayers. He knows you, everything about you.

You are His. He is yours. You His sheep. He your Shepherd. He Rich’s shepherd, too. And He is the Good Shepherd. He is. Not was. Not will be. “I AM,” Jesus says. Eternally the Good Shepherd. Not because of what He knows. Not because He knows you. Not because He knows your husband, father, grandfather, friend, or however else you knew Rich or how your life was blessed by him.

Now, Jesus does know. “I know My own,” He says, but Jesus is eternally the Good Shepherd only because of what He does. “I lay down My life for the sheep.” He dies for His Sheep. Good Shepherd Jesus makes Good Friday good because, on Good Friday, Good Shepherd Jesus gives up His life for His sheep. He doesn’t just lay down His life. He takes it back again. He comes back to life for His sheep.

Why does Jesus do this? It’s not just that He wants to save His sheep. Yes, He wants that, He died for them, after all. But there’s more. It’s not just so that His sheep know Him, that is, trust Him. Yes, He wants that, but there’s more. Jesus puts it this way: “They hear My voice.” Job also puts it in similar words, just with a different sense: “Whom my eyes shall see.” So, what does Jesus want?

JESUS, YOUR GOOD SHEPHERD, WHATS YOU TO HEAR AND SEE HIM FOREVER.

((I. The sheep’s ears and eyes are on Jesus now.))

Now, what Jesus wants forever—you to hear and see him in eternal life—He also wants now in your earthly life. He opens ears. He opens eyes. Turns ears and eyes to Himself. “His sheep hear.” So He speaks to them. He delivers His Word to them so that they would have ears and eyes only for Him. That’s the sort of relationship Good Shepherd Jesus wants to have with His sheep, and when Jesus wants something, He does something about it!

“I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” January 10, 1943. “Take, eat; this is My body, given for you. Drink of it; this cup is the New Testament in My blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” April 14, 1957. “I forgive you all your sins.” The Scriptures, too. Countless devotions—even those Portals Monday. ”My sheep hear my voice, and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.”

Not just for Rich. Jesus wants the same for you. “All authority in heaven and earth is given to Me,” and He uses it to turn your ears to Him, your eyes to Him, your voice, your hands, “your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” He makes sure you get His Word, hear His voice, over and over and over again, to make you His sheep, to guard and keep as His sheep. Font. Bible. Preaching. Forgiveness. Altar.

((Transition.))

And no matter what His Word and promises hold true. You are His. He is yours. Even when the sufferings of life get heavy. Especially then! The Lord knows your sufferings. He suffered, too. He suffers with you, too. He wept at Lazarus’ graveside. Christ went down the road we do. Into death. Into grave. The suffering that goes with that journey. Jesus endured that. And He went through coming back to life, “never to die again.” That last part of His journey He promises and delivers in Holy Baptism.

But “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” It will be revealed to our senses. Our bodies will be raised. “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” But it will be seen, it will be heard. Jesus will be! “In my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold and not another.”

((II. The sheep’s ears and eyes are on Jesus forever.))

And the seeing of the sheep, the hearing of the sheep, the living of the sheep will have no end! Jesus’ sheep will forever see. They will forever hear. The will forever live. They will forever praise Him in is and His Father’s kingdom. “No one will snatch them out of My hand.” “No one can snatch them form My Father’s hand.” Ears and eyes always on Jesus. The true life of a sheep.

And the Lord’s sheep go about doing sheep-like things. Rich did many of those things—praise God! But the true perfect life of a sheep is, well, being a sheep. Receiving care from the crucified and raised Good Shepherd. That’s your life, too. The Lord Jesus caring for you. His eyes are on you to protect you. His ears are open to your prayers. He hears your crying. His nail-scarred hands ready to bless. Through His Word and His Gifts He turns you towards Him, and and in those things He delivers His promise: “I am with you always.”

That’s Rich’s life now. With Jesus always, resting in the presence of his Good Shepherd, as we are waiting for Jesus’ return that will kick off the “resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” Jesus has brought Rich to His nearer presence—face to face. Just exactly the way Jesus wanted it. He made it happen. Died and rose. Rules the universe so that Rich would be baptized, hear His Word, all so that Rich would eternally have his eyes on Him, his ears, heart, soul, mind, and strength on Him, too. Jesus also does all that for you. His free gift. That’s how Jesus loves you forever, without end.

((Conclusion.))

JESUS, YOUR GOOD SHEPHERD, WANTS YOU TO HEAR AND SEE HIM FOREVER. So He makes it happen. You are His sheep. He lays down His life for His sheep, for you. He takes it back again, comes back to life. Through His Word He speaks to them. In Baptism He’s called you by name, claimed you as His own. Comfort and peace He delivers through His forgiveness, His preaching, and His Word. According to His promise, He sustains you by the table of His body and blood He prepares for you in the presence of your enemies, grief and death. Through His flesh and blood He remains with you and you with Him, and He will resurrect you on the Last Day.

JESUS, YOUR GOOD SHEPHERD, WANTS YOU TO HEAR AND SEE HIM FOREVER. That’s happening right now for Rich. It will happen for you, too. JESUS, YOUR GOOD SHEPHERD, WANTS that for you. Ears and eyes always on Him, and by His power, He’ll make it happen.

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

INI + AMEN.

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