Where I am, there will My servant be. Funeral Sermon, Ascension, 2013
F Funeral Home
St. John 12:23-32 (Acts 1:1-11)
May 9, 2013
“Where I am, there will my servant be”
Dear A, V,
R, R, P, B,
All of G’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren,
Family and friends,
Members of St. Peter Lutheran Church:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word of God to comfort you this morning, from St. John’s gospel:
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
G was honored by the United States Army for his service to our country. A bronze star.
Jesus says, “If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
How will the Father in heaven honor the one who serves Jesus? The same way Jesus was honored:
He was glorified.
He was lifted up from the earth.
Today is the ascension of the Lord, when He was taken up and sat down at the right hand of God to reign over heaven and earth until He puts all things under His feet—including at the end, death and hell and the evil tempter and deceiver, the devil.
But when Jesus said that He would draw all men to Himself, He was not only talking about His ascension but what happened before it—His death on the cross.
To serve Jesus we must follow Him. Just like a servant waiting on someone will always be nearby. We must be with Him in dying to the world and our own will.
Then we will be glorified with Him.
But who really serves Jesus this way?
G. liked to make flowers grow. And for the last several years, when he was mostly confined to his chair in the front room, he had delight in watching the birds and squirrels that came by the window.
Human beings are like flowers. We bloom. We have our beauty and our splendor. It lasts a little while. But then the petals have to fall away and the flower has to die so that fruit can come into being.
But we fight it. We don’t want the flower to fall. We don’t want our glory to fade away, no matter how insignificant it may be.
We want to preserve our lives; we want to believe that we are basically ok just as we are.
Our glory fades because that is God’s judgment on our sin. And even the best of us fight it.
Yet it is God’s will that the flower withers and our splendor fades away so that we can become something much more glorious—
That instead of having the splendor of a fallen man (which is really filthy rags) we might share the glory of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who has ascended above the heavens and who has exalted human flesh and blood to the throne of God.
That is why what saves us, what gets us honor with God, is not that we serve Jesus, but that Jesus serves us.
The one who serves Jesus is the one who first of all believes that Jesus has served him and paid his debts.
Jesus draws all men to himself by being lifted up.
He was lifted up on cross in payment for our sins.
He was lifted up from the grave in His resurrection and appeared to His disciples.
He was lifted up in His ascension, and now dwells in the midst of His church, so that we go out as His witnesses and proclaim the forgiveness of sins.
Everyone who believes in Him and is baptized will be saved.
Baptized into Christ
We died with Him (in Baptism; Rom. 6, Col. 2)
We were raised from the dead with him. (Did you hear Paul say that in Romans 6?)
We have ascended in Him. (Eph 2)
Our life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3)
Where Jesus is, there are His servants
To serve Jesus is to be served by Him.
G. was served by Jesus. Jesus died for G., rose from the dead.
He baptized G.,
Gave him many gifts in life,
Made him a blessing.
He served G. with his body and blood that healed and forgave all his sins.
G. is with Jesus in His glory.
So are all of you who are baptized into Christ and believe that He has done it.
We wait the day when our bodies will share in His glory;
Until then we eat and drink His body and blood in which we have forgiveness of sins, life, healing.
As we do so, we have communion with G. and all the saints who are with Jesus.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
- Mourning for the Ascension of Christ (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Prayer for the Day of the Ascension of our Lord (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- What Can Protestants Learn from Christ’s Ascension? (shepherdspiehole.typepad.com)