Elaine Janssen Funeral (Isaiah 25)

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Service Notes

  • Liturgical Date: Elaine Janssen Funeral - February 21, 2014
  • Order of Service: Funeral Service
  • Hymns: "Old Rugged Cross", LSB #801, 770

Theme Verse

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:6-9).

Sermon Text

John, Ellen, Gerald & Debra, Marilyn & George, and everyone who knew and loved Elaine:

Grace, mercy and peace be yours from God our Father and Jesus Christ, His resurrected Son. Amen.

DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY BY THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

Death. We're here today because of death. The death of a dearly loved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. A great hole has been torn in many hearts. Our loss grieves us. But we need not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Elaine hoped in her Lord Jesus Christ. Her resurrected Savior. Who has called her by name to join Him on His mountain. Where DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY BY THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

But before we are called up onto the mountain, we must walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Death looms over us as a dark covering. Reminding us of our own mortality. Haunting us with the uncertainty of our lives. Stinging us with the knowledge of our sin. Hammering our souls with the Law we have broken (1 Corinthians 15:56). We wander under the shadow of death in tears and reproach. Mourning Elaine's death. Our impending death. The uncertainties of life and death.

But death is now only a shadow. DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY BY THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Isaiah says the shadow of death is the first thing swallowed up on Jesus' holy mountain. The shadow of death is "the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations" (v7). Jesus' holy mountain is Calvary. Where the "Old Rugged Cross" stood in all of its shame. On His holy mountain, Jesus swallows up death. Engulfing its existence with His death. Destroying its power with His resurrection. Leaving only the shadow behind until His second coming.

/* We are not the first to wish for this shadow to leave us. We are not the first to want the veil removed from our lives. The entire creation has been groaning for the salvation of the sons of God since Adam and Eve fell into sin (Romans 8:18-19). Since death entered the world. The world has been waiting for death's shadow to be swallowed up. To be engulfed and destroyed. When can say, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (vv8-9). */ Elaine believed in her heart that death was only a shadow. Although her children might disagree, one of Elaine's greatest virtues was her patience. There were definitely times when she wished God would move faster. Especially when it came to bringing in spring after they moved to town. But her confident faith instilled in her a patience that began to understand that God's timing was better than her timing.

She often spoke of her desire and readiness to be with the Lord. But He would take care of that in His time. Every day God gave her on this earth she cherished and made the best of it. Patiently she waited on her Lord to fulfill His promises to her. And Monday afternoon, when the Good Shepherd called her name, all the promises were fulfilled. She faithfully answered His call. Entering the heavenly gates, she could say, "Behold, this is my God; I have waited for Him, that He might save me. This is the LORD; I have waited for Him; I will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (cf. vv8-9).

In the valley of the shadow of death, Elaine waited. But she waited in hope. Hope in the resurrection of Jesus. Hope that DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY BY THE GOOD SHEPHERD. The victory is His. And He gives it to us through faith.

Jesus died for the sins of the world. Paying the debt that Elaine owed. Paying the debt that each of us owe. We can only find forgiveness and salvation in Jesus' death and resurrection. We are victorious because Jesus died for us.

This was Elaine's hope. Her Lord Jesus Christ would call her home in His time. Having forgiven her of her sins. Having swallowed up death for her. Now, she lives in the victory He promises to give everyone who believes in Him. With the rest of the saints in Heaven, Elaine waits for death's shadow to be swallowed up for everyone. When we will be like Christ. "Death has no more dominion over Him" (Romans 6:9). Death will have no more dominion over you. Because you will be living in Jesus' victory.

Celebrating the Good Shepherd's victory with the great eternal feast. Elaine is sitting at Jesus' heavenly banquet. "A feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined" (v6). The "rich food full of marrow" and the "aged wine well refined" (v6) of the Great Shepherd's body and blood that Elaine longed to receive as often as she could. Elaine sought her Lord to be near her. Because He has SWALLOWED UP DEATH IN HIS VICTORY.

Throughout her life, the Good Shepherd caused Elaine to lie down in green pastures and restored her soul. Comforting her by laying down His life for her. Wiping away her tears. Giving her the abundant life of Heaven (v8; John 10:10). Calling her by name. As He did when He baptized her.

Jesus was her Good Shepherd all through her life. The Shepherd she faithfully followed. She enjoyed being his sheep in this life. She celebrates being a sheep in his heavenly fold now. And she waits for the Last Day when each of us will be reunited with her. When Jesus comes back to bring us all to His holy mountain of feasting. Where DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY BY THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Amen.