Blog / Book of the Month / Funeral Sermon For Elaine Calibaba / Friday October 21st - 2016

Funeral Sermon For Elaine Calibaba / Friday October 21st - 2016

Funeral Sermon For Elaine Calibaba / Friday October 21st - 2016

Funeral Sermon for Elaine Calibaba at Mount Olive Lutheran Church Friday October 21st - 2016 / Pastor Ted A. Giese / John 11:1-44

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” After saying these things, He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

Now when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on The Last Day.” Jesus said to her, “I Am the resurrection and The Life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met Him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odour, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.

Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends.
We just heard in our Gospel Lesson today how "[Jesus had] cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Not everyone was happy about this turn of events: Mary and Martha were happy to have their brother back, but the chief priests in nearby Jerusalem were not. The Passover celebrations were right around the corner and having heard that Jesus had risen Lazarus from the dead the chief priests and the Pharisees gave, "orders that if anyone knew where [Jesus] was, [they] should let them know, so that they might arrest this [Jesus]."[1]

Not long after the linen strips fell off of Lazarus, Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples - Judas - He was arrested under the cover of darkness, falsely accused, tossed between courts like a hot potato and finally wrongly convicted, beaten and publicly executed by means of crucifixion. Jesus' body hung dead upon the cross and after they had received permission from Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, "[two secrete followers of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus a Pharisees] took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews." The Gospel of John further tells us that, "In the place where [Jesus] was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there."[2]

At the resurrection of Lazarus, Mary and Martha (Lazarus' sisters), Jesus' faithful disciples, and followers, and all those people who would soon be greeting Jesus with palm branches and shouts of hosanna "Save us!" had no idea that Jesus Himself would soon be dead and that He would find Himself wrapped in the same kind of linen strips that He'd commanded the onlookers to take off of Lazarus. Jesus the Son of God, God Himself, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, would allow Himself to be bound in the linen cloths, with linen strips, so that Lazarus could have life, Jesus allowed Himself to be bound by death so that Lazarus and you and I, and Elaine can have eternal life.

Christians, and hopefully all people, have heard the Jesus didn't stay dead; that on the Third Day Jesus Himself walked out of His own tomb. The bonds of death couldn't hold The Lord of Life. The linen bonds that He was swaddled in, in the tomb, were found neatly folded and placed next to the place that His body Had been lain.[3]

Jesus had said to Martha before He had raised Lazarus from the dead, "your brother will rise again." As called an ordained servants of this same Christ Jesus Pastor Dennis and I are here with you today to say, in the stead of Christ, that this promise made concerning Lazarus is a promise also made concerning Elaine. Elaine will rise again and you with Martha can confess with confidence, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day," in your case you can say, "I know that she will rise again in the resurrection on the last day,"

We are all the more confident that this will happen because we know that Christ Himself was raised up on that first Easter morning: And just as He has promised to Martha, He promises to Elaine and to you saying, "I am The Resurrection and The Life. Whoever believes in Me though he die yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die." Then Jesus asks, "do you believe this?" It was a question for Martha it is a question for you. Martha replies to Jesus, "Yes Lord I believe that You are the Christ the son of God who is coming into the world."

Yet there are also days when we are less like Martha and more like her sister Mary who fell at Jesus' feet saying to him, "Lord if You would have been here my brother would not have died." It is the question of why? Why now, couldn't You do anything to stop it? How do you go from playing the tambourine with the family one night to death the next morning? We are all in shock that Elaine's death came so suddenly, and maybe you aren't even asking yourself this question now but you will, one day you will say, "Lord if You would have been here [my mother, my sister, my grandma, my friend, would not have died." Where were You? Where is Christ in the midst of our suffering?

Christ is right there with you. He Himself tasted death, He weeps over the death of His own, just as He did over the death of Lazarus His friend who He loved, He is not far from you He is near you today and He was with Elaine through her life and in the hour of her death and she is with Him now. In Christ you are never alone. He says to you, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also."[4] In the Psalms, the hymn book of the Bible, we hear these comforting words, "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."[5] Elaine's life is now hidden away in Christ Jesus, saint Paul says, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with [Jesus] in a resurrection like His."[6] Elaine has all of this in Christ, she has all of this in her baptism into Christ, She will on The Last Day be risen up. Today Christ asks, "Do you believe this?" Do you believe He will do this for Elaine, do you believe that He will do this for you? Not because you are so great but because He is, not because you are without sin, but because He is and He gives His greatness, His sinlessness to you as a gift just as He has given it to Elaine, for Jesus is The Resurrection and The Life. And on The Last Day all who have ears to hear it will hear Him say, "Come out!" and with joy they will, and all those who do not have ears to hear it, they will come out also and He will take His own unto Himself. Amen.

Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.


[1] John 11:57
[2] John 19:40-42
[3] John 20:6-7
[4] John 14:1-3
[5] Psalm 116:15
[6] Romans 6:3-5