Is There A Cure For Death?

The following 'Funeral Sermon' is posted with family permission.  May the Lord give to the family of Darlene Edwards, and all who mourn, comfort in their grief and a sure confidence in the Lord's loving care.  

Text: John 11:17-27

In the name of Jesus:  Amen.

Death is by far the greatest enemy that the world has ever known.  Whether we realize it or not, we all daily fight against death.  Yes, every single day, we are at war with death.

For example, we take vitamins, go to doctors, exercise, and diet to prolong our life and keep death at a distance. 

We also have airbags, seatbelts, and speed limits to restrict the sting of death when we travel. 

Immunizations, sunscreen, and clothing?  Well, these things too, are meant to protect us from that which would bring about death. 

And we must also mention sleep, vacations, and perhaps rest on a beach – these are ways that we attempt to allow our body to rejuvenate so that we can remain strong against the effects of death. 

Now, even though we constantly fight death every day of our lives, the fact remains that we are powerless against death.  In spite of all our modern technologies, we still do not have a remedy or a vaccination or a cure for death itself.  In fact, we never will.  That is why death is so cruel.  Death does not give an inch.  It comes for everyone, which includes our dear sister, Darlene. 

And so, here we sit in this church – in our pews – with the effects of death before us.  The sting of death has come upon Darlene.  And no matter which angle we try to approach this day, the result is the same – one of the Lord’s blessed Baptized Saints has died.  Death has struck again.    

With this reality before us, we may find ourselves saying,

“Is there any solution – any remedy or antidote or cure for death?  There must be.  There has to be!  This cannot be all that there is!  There has to be something or someone that can answer the sting of death!  There must be something that we can hang our body on – something that we can cling to that answers Darlene’s death!”

Dear friends, there is one answer to Darlene’s death.  There is an antidote for the sting of death against Darlene.  There is a remedy.  And that is the resurrection.  Yes, the resurrection. 

In our reading from the Gospel of John, we hear of another death – the death of Lazarus.  And right there amid death itself, Jesus responds to the sting of death, saying that He is the resurrection and the life.  Now, we must keep in mind that Jesus is not giving an academic lecture when he talks about the resurrection, as if He is referencing an obscure doctrine of the Christian Church.  He is not affirming a theoretical concept of the resurrection, as if it is a fairytale doctrine or some kind of myth.  He is also not inferring that He raises the dead from time to time – you know like some Las Vegas magician who only performs on the weekends.   No, Jesus says quite the opposite.  Jesus says that He ‘IS’ the resurrection and that He ‘IS’ life. 

Dear friends, when Jesus says that He ‘is’ the resurrection, He is saying that He is the author and the cause of the resurrection – that the resurrection comes through Him and is dependent on Him.  And what is the resurrection?  Well, the resurrection is not some half-baked reincarnation where we supposedly come back in another body.  The resurrection is also not a spiritual resurrection of the soul, as if our spirits are raised to bounce on the clouds of heaven and whisk through heaven’s harps.  But instead, the resurrection is the full raising of the body from the dead.

So, what does this mean? 

Well, it is quite simple.  It is simple; however, profound - and not to mention, extremely comforting!  That is to say; the answer, antidote, remedy, and cure for Darlene this day is Jesus.  Yes, Jesus. 

It is like this; the resurrection is Darlene's body and soul put back together again; raised from the grave, never to die again.  At the end of the age, Darlene will be made whole again because she has Jesus and Jesus has her.  Darlene is baptized into Christ – cemented to Him.  And so, with Jesus, Darlene possesses the resurrection.  Jesus is Darlene’s resurrection and Darlene’s life.    

Dear friends, what comfort this is for you and me this day: everlasting life depends on Jesus and nothing else.  The resurrection of Darlene does not depend on her goodness, accomplishments, and disposition, but depends on Jesus and Jesus alone for Jesus is the one that atoned for sin on the cross, defeated the devil, and broke the jaws of death by rising on the third day.  Therefore, since it depends on Christ Jesus, it is most certainly true and certain for Darlene. 

And this day Jesus is not only Darlene’s resurrection but yours too.  Even though we battle death daily, death is not an obstacle to Jesus.  Jesus Himself died and rose from the grave; therefore, when we are joined to Jesus in Holy Baptism, like Darlene, our deaths are made small for we possess Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life. 

Dear friends, even though we face death head-on with our dear sister, Darlene, we have comfort right now that Christ is the resurrection and the life – that death does not have the final say.  Indeed, even though Darlene will be laid in the grave, we are not commending her to a grave of the dead, but a field full of those tucked into Jesus awaiting the resurrection of the body.  That is why we say that Christians sleep in Jesus.  Death implies finality; however, sleep in Jesus implies that Darlene will awake in a moment for Jesus is her resurrection.    

The answer, antidote, remedy, and cure for death?  It is Jesus!  And why Jesus?  Because He is the resurrection and the life.  He is the end of death.  He is the beginning of life.  He is our sure and certain assurance today and forevermore. 

In the name of Jesus, the resurrection and the life: Amen.

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