Easter Devotional
The Last Funeral
Pastor Greg Wooten - Lincoln Church of the Nazarene

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[March 25, 2016]  Dearly beloved,

We have come today to pay our last respects to a tireless worker who never took a day off – a world traveler who has visited every country, every province, every city, town and village and every home in them.

He was no respecter of persons – young or old or conservative or liberal or healthy or sick. The one who is laid to rest today was completely impartial showing no favoritism, but treating everyone with equality.

Wherever there was trouble, you would find him there: At the scenes of accidents that abruptly ended the lives of precious mothers and fathers. He was there when the gunman aimed a deadly weapon at innocent children and opened fire. He was there when the flood waters of a tsunami washed over an island, or a hurricane blew through, or a tornado twisted its way across the land leaving shattered lives and dreams in its wake.

In the city you’d find him hanging with the gangs, helping them get high and convincing them that respect and drugs were worth killing or dying for. He loved the rural communities, too, and spent much time on the backroads of our land. Whether he was cooking meth or dealing heroin, or finding creative ways to poison our food and water supplies with new pesticides. Sometimes, just for kicks he’d convince teenagers to drive too fast on country roads and then throw something hard in their way to bring a sudden end to their young lives.

His bag of tricks was bottomless – sicknesses, like hundreds of varieties of cancer, ALS, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, were his specialty. He was a whiz at crafting new viruses and bacteria to kill people in creative and painful ways.
He was no couch potato, but he helped to harden the arteries of more than a few, providing endless hours of televised entertainment with murder after murder, war upon war, zombie this and zombie that.

Governments and kings and terrorists all over the globe had contracted him for his particular set of skills. So long as they could use him as a threat, they held great power over the people. They thought him an ally, but in the end he would turn on them and consume them with the very sword they thought they controlled, proving he always wins in the end.

His appetite to devour life was insatiable. There was always one more body to destroy. One more dream to shatter. One more family to dismantle. At work for untold centuries he had never passed up a single opportunity to flex his muscle and show everybody who was boss, and in the end that’s what killed him.

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For when God’s one and only Son showed up wearing the flesh of humanity, the very stuff he loved to feast upon, he couldn’t help himself. Doing his very best (or would that be his very worst?), he whispered lies into the hearts of his religious and political associates and convinced them that Jesus had to die. He had to die painfully. He had to die thoroughly. He was determined to make God’s Son his prize trophy. His lies worked and Jesus was indeed beaten mercilessly, mocked and humiliated, and nailed to a pole to die in disgrace and agony.

But when Jesus gave up the ghost, when He died, without warning He seized Death and dragged him into the pit with Him. Death had never been defeated. He had a spotless record. Everyone who had ever lived had grappled with him and lost. But as powerful as death was, he was just no match for Jesus. They both went to the grave that day – but only Jesus came out.

So today, we come to mourn… no that’s not the right way to say it. We come to celebrate the life of… no that’s not quite right either… We come to this, the last funeral of all time. Death is at last being laid to rest. Good-bye. And good riddance.

“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life… After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” – from 1 Corinthians 15:20 - 26 NLT

Lincoln Church of the Nazarene
2501 Woodlawn Road

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