Funeral of Michael Oldehoeft (Job 19; Rom 8; Jn 10)

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“No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

᛭ INI ᛭

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

There’s comfort for you today in each of our readings. Comfort from Job. Comfort from St. Paul. Comfort from Jesus Himself. Comfort from those three places. Comfort for you, Earl and Ruth, for you, Luke and Gunner, for you, Paul, for the rest of Michael’s family, and for all of us, too!

We need this much comfort for when the unthinkable happens. When this world works in ways that we don’t think they should, and, in fact, the world doesn’t work in any way that it should! Parents shouldn’t have to bury children—shouldn’t happen! Children shouldn’t have to bury parents either—shouldn’t happen!

The Lord wants to pile on the comfort because He wants to save you. He wants to save you from a world, from a life, from a death, from sin that is completely opposed to Him, what He wants for you. The Lord knew about today, and, according to “His good and gracious will,” He already took care of it!

Our sinfulness is unacceptable to Jesus. Our death is unacceptable to Jesus. A day like today is unacceptable to Jesus. From eternity Jesus and His Father, along with the Holy Spirit, hatched a plan to deal with it. The plan was for Jesus to run headlong, straight into the midst of it! To swallow it all up in Himself, by going through it for you. Unacceptable, imperfect people? Jesus is perfect in your place. Unacceptable sins? Jesus bleeds for them. Unacceptable death? Jesus goes into death. Unacceptable burials? Jesus comes back to life, leaves His grave behind, on the Third Day.

Even though we’ve got comfort from each of our readings, and we’ll certainly consider each this morning. Your chief comfort today and each day going forward is this:

THE LORD JESUS HAS YOU, AND HE’S NEVER LETTING GO.

((John 10))

That’s exactly what Jesus says today. “No one can snatch them out of My hand.” Jesus’ sheep are His, and He is theirs. That’s faith: being Jesus’ sheep, harkening to, listening to, following His voice, being held in His hands—His hands that never let go. That’s the life of a sheep, one of Jesus’ sheep.

A sheep of Jesus is forever in His hands. He hangs on to them. There’s no “the Lord holds his hand out waiting for you to take it” with Jesus. He’s the Shepherd who comes for His sheep, to grab hold of them and never let go. Nothing can snatch them from His nail-scarred, almighty hands. His Almighty eternal Father handed them off to Him. No fumbles with the Triune God. You’re Jesus’, and He is yours.

He’s made it so. He ran headlong into the danger. The mark of a Good Shepherd. Others may run away at danger, but not Jesus. From forever He saw it coming, and said, “I’m going to swallow up and destroy sin and death for the sake of My sheep.” He did it by bearing our sins in our place, by suffering death, and coming back to life on the third day. His empty tomb is the proof positive that

THE LORD JESUS HAS YOU, AND HE’S NEVER LETTING GO.

((Job 19))

This is the promise that Job prophesied. Job saw the promise of Jesus’ resurrection. “I know that my Redeemer lives,” he says. Job had faith in the coming Jesus. Job also prophesied the promise that the sheep will also rise from the dead. “In my flesh I shall see God,” Job says. That’s the very thing that Jesus does for His sheep, “I give them eternal life.” And that means, as Job says, “My eyes shall behold [my Redeemer] and not another [pair of eyes.]”

Job’s words today are especially comforting because of where they come from—from Job. Job, of course, suffered a great many things. He lost his health. He lost everything he owned. But the most tragic part of his story is that he, too, had to bury his children. It’s from the midst of this life of cross and suffering that the Holy Spirit used Job to write these words of comfort: “I know that my Redeemer lives and that He shall stand at the last [day] on the earth. After my skin has been destroyed, yet I know that in my flesh, I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall see Him and not another [pair of eyes].”

Job proclaims the comfort of resurrection to eternal life with his LORD and Redeemer. Job believed, and was inspired to write, the truth that his Lord and Redeemer had him no matter what, that the LORD Jesus held Job in His hands and wasn’t letting go. But it wasn’t just for Job. It was a promise for Job’s children, too. It’s a promise for all of us.

Now, the end of the book of Job tells us that, after the time of testing was over, the Lord restored his possessions. The Lord gave him double of everything he had before. For example, before Job had 500 donkeys, and after he had 1,000. The only thing that didn’t apply to was Job’s children. When it came to his children, Job got the same number—not double—that he had before because he didn’t need to be given double. He never lost any of them! Not a single one! How could he? They died and went to the LORD.

The promise of resurrection was the ever-present reality for Job and for his family not because of Job’s great faith or anything. It was because of His great Lord and Redeemer who made that resurrection promise, that promise is for you today and every day, Earl, Ruth, Luke, Gunner, Paul, and for all of us, too!

THE LORD JESUS HAS YOU, AND HE’S NEVER LETTING GO.

((Rom 8))

And so now we come to Romans 8, and this promise is there in spades. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [Is it like the passage that says], “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered”? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Nothing can separate you because THE LORD JESUS HAS YOU, AND HE’S NEVER LETTING GO. Nothing can separate you because Jesus died and rose. Nothing can separate you because you’re baptized—always baptized. There Jesus grabbed hold of you, continually grabs hold of you in all of His Promises. The Promises of His Word, His Supper, His Absolution. These are His immovable, unshakable promises.

One day the Lord Jesus will make good all on His promises. He will raise you from the dead. He will send forth His Holy Spirit who “will raise you and all the dead and give eternal life to you and all believers in Christ.” Facts. Just like Jesus’ own resurrection. Fact. Sin, death, grave didn’t keep Jesus down. His promise, the promise delivered in Holy Baptism, is that sin, death, and grave won’t keep you down either. You’ll live forever with Jesus. “This is most certainly true.”

((Conclusion))

We do need lots of comfort. Especially on days like today. Jesus pours it on today! Job 19. Romans 8. John 10. Again and again Jesus makes and delivers promises, comfort. He died and rose. Ran straight to Calvary’s cross. Ran straight out of His tomb, too! Your baptism united you to Jesus and Jesus to you, it made His cross and His coming back to life yours. All received by faith in Him alone. Jesus’ continual comfort and promise—“yesterday, today, and forever”—is this:

THE LORD JESUS HAS YOU, AND HE’S NEVER LETTING GO.

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

᛭ INI ᛭

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