Elda Friedrichs Funeral (Jn 10, 14–18, 27–30; 1 Thess 4, 13–18)

Photo by Manuel Sardo on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Jesus said, “I give them eternal life and they will never ever perish forever and no one will snatch them from My hand.”


Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

That’s what we believe. Jesus is risen. Risen from the dead. He was dead, and then He wasn’t dead any more. He gave His “life as a ransom for many.” “Laid down His life for His sheep.” He laid it down, just so He could take it back again. That’s why He came in the first place.

He came to save. Came to save us from our sins. That’s the sort of Jesus He is. He is what His name confesses: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” His people are His sheep. “He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” “The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want.”

He is Good Shepherd. He’s good shepherd because of what He’s done for His sheep. He went into death for them. The wages that His sheep earned, He took on as His own debt. “The wages of sin is death.” Their death. His death. Jesus’ death. He paid what they owed—holy, precious, far more costly than gold or silver or any such thing. Shepherd came as sheep to save the sheep from their sin, from their death, from their grave.

“I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again; this commandment I’ve received from My Father.” He came back to life. Raised for our justification, our innocent verdict before God, our forgiveness, our eternal life. Jesus came back to life after being dead for three days. He promised it. He did it. He keeps His promises. He’s the Good Shepherd, after all.

That’s what we believe. We believe Jesus was dead, and then He wasn’t dead any more. We believe that His holy life counts for us. We believe His death saves us. We believe His resurrection promises our resurrection from the dead. There’s nothing else we can trust in.

Any other trust or confidence is hopeless, ends in death, everlasting death, the second death, lake of fire. If you trust in anything besides Jesus, you perish. You end up with how you always lived, an eternity without Jesus, eternally outside the sheepfold. But never ever for any of Jesus’ sheep! Even if they die, especially if they die! For “they will follow Me.”

Elda has. She’s gone through everything Jesus went through for her. Except she didn’t do it to earn anything from Him. How can you earn what’s given to you for free? No, she went through it all as gift from Him.

Jesus baptized for her. Jesus lived for her. Jesus ate the Supper of His body and blood for Her. Jesus died for her. Jesus rose for her. Jesus rules the universe for her, sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Elda baptized by Jesus. Elda given life by Jesus. Elda received the Supper of His body and blood. Elda died in Jesus. Now, she rests face to face with Jesus. But there is one thing she will go through, just like her Shepherd did. Jesus will raise her body from the dead, and she will live forever body and soul in His eternal kingdom, which has no end.

This is what we believe. Not just because we want to, not just because it sounds nice, but because it’s true. It’s what’s happened. True story. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so we also believe God will bring with Him, through Jesus, those who sleep.”

Jesus dying on Good Friday and coming back to life on Easter Sunday. Well, that changes everything. Changes eternity. Changes, not just Elda, you, too. Now, His sheep. Now nothing can snatch you from His nail-scarred hands. It’s the promise He makes to you:

  • As many of you as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. (Rom 6)
  • Whatever you forgive on earth will be forgiven in heaven. (Mt 18)
  • Whoever believes in Me…and eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will resurrect him on the Last Day. (Jn 6:40, 54)

The Lord Jesus is good on promises. He kept this one: “I lay down My life, so that I would take it up again.” Dead and raised. Seems trustworthy to me.

Yes, you grieve. You’re sad. But we have hope. We have the best Hope around: Jesus. Jesus is our Hope. He is our Help and our Shield, our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliverer, our Salvation, our God in whom we trust, our Good Shepherd.

He gave His “life as a ransom for many.” “Laid down His life for His sheep.” He paid their debt. No other bookkeeping needs to be made. Now there’s just receiving from Him, until you’re face to face with Him.

Elda is. He her Shepherd. She His sheep. His nail-scarred hands prove that. She’s followed where ever He went: font, Supper, grave. Soon, out of the grave, out of this very casket! She’ll hop up out of there. As Malachi says, “Leaping like calves from the stall.”

You, too. That’s what Jesus promises you. He never goes back on His Word. His Word always does what it says: gives life, gives peace, gives Him. Baptism. Your Bible. This Sermon. His Supper. That’s how He gives it all to you again, again, and again. Until the day you will see Him face to face, and the Last Day when He will raise your body from the dead.

Those who are His sheep, those who listen to His voice, to follow to the places He leads, well, “We will always be with the Lord” Jesus in His and His Father’s Kingdom. “Comfort one another with these words.”

Comfort from His Words. Jesus’ Words. Faithful and true words: “I baptize you,” “I forgive you,” “My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of sins,” “I give them eternal life and they will never ever perish forever and no one will snatch them from My hand.”

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!


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