A number of years ago one of my seminary professors told us a story about when he was at a funeral service at one of our Lutheran churches. He said he was sitting back listening to the sermon and he overheard a gentleman in front of him speaking to his friend. He said something like this: “Ah, there he goes again. Those Lutheran’s are always making it about Jesus.”
Apparently the man didn’t think that the pastor should have spent so much time in his funeral sermon talking about Jesus. Maybe he should have spent more time talking about the one who had died, the good things that he had done, or how sorely he’d be missed.
In John chapter 11 we hear about Jesus visiting the graveside of his friend Lazarus. He’d been very familiar with the family. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus all trusted in Jesus as their Savior, the Messiah who was to come. And yet upon hearing of Lazarus death, when Jesus goes there, he comes to comfort Mary and Martha. And instead of telling them about how great of a guy Lazarus was or how sorely he’ll be missed, what does Jesus say to Martha? He points to himself. He says
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even if he dies.” (John 11:25)
You see the place where they were to find their comfort, the message that he brought them to dry their tears was himself that Jesus was the resurrection the one that they could have hope in, that all who trust in him shall be raised from the dead, the one through whom their brother Lazarus would have eternal life.
Perhaps what that man thought was his greatest criticism of that pastor was perhaps the best of compliments. He made it all about Jesus. It’s truly what we need to dry our tears in the face of death. Thanks be to God for all Christ has done that he has risen from the dead and because he lives we too shall live. Amen.