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Funeral for Ernest Stein

John 14:1-6

Rev. Andrew Eckert

St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 

Our Lord Jesus has prepared a room in the house of His Father for Ernest.  Right now, Ernest is there.  We do not know exactly what that is like.  We know that it is perfect, and that Ernest is with his Lord and with the saints, and is completely, perfectly happy.

Although we know little about the place that Christ prepared for Ernest, we know more about how Christ prepared it.  He did not prepare it as we might prepare an earthly room - make the bed, fluff the pillows, vacuum and dust.  Physical preparations take no time at all for the Almighty Son of God.

Christ was speaking of a different kind of preparation.  When He spoke these words, He was about to be betrayed by Judas, arrested by His own people, suffer at the hands of sinful men, and die on the Cross.  These things are the preparation of Christ for Ernest.

The problem with preparing a place for Ernest was not building or cleaning.  The problem was Ernest.  Like all men, he was born in sin.  The trespasses that Ernest confessed every Sunday were too great to allow entrance into God's paradise.  That place is utterly perfect, the ultimate reward for absolutely righteous people.  But all people on earth are unclean sinners who do not deserve to set one foot inside those heavenly gates.

Ernest was no exception.  Therefore Christ His Lord had to prepare a place by opening paradise to him.  To do this, He had to suffer for all of Ernest's sins, and the sins of all humanity.  Christ had to die the death that Ernest deserved, the death of punishment and judgment.  That was a lot to ask of Christ, an innocent Man.  Yet He willingly went to the Cross because He loved Ernest enough to suffer even hell in his place.

So we can know for certain that Ernest is already in the presence of God and all the beloved saints, because such precious blood was shed to prepare the way.

To prepare the way, Christ also rose on the third day.  He became alive to show that Ernest would also rise.  This body in the coffin only sleeps until the final Day of this earth.  Then this flesh will arise, strong and whole and alive more than he was ever alive before.  This also Christ has prepared for Ernest.

Yet Christ did even more than that.  Christ did not only act two thousand years ago.  He also came to Ernest in his lifetime.  He Himself, Christ the Lord, baptized Ernest with the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.  That was the first resurrection for Ernest, when his flesh, born dead in sin, was raised to new life in Christ.  He delivered all the benefits of His Cross to Ernest in Baptism.

Christ also spoke to Ernest with His holy Word that forgave his sins and strengthened His faith.  When trials came, Ernest was kept secure in his Lord.  When satan's temptations tried to drive Ernest away from his Savior, Ernest was safe in the Word of Christ.

Still, Christ was not done.  He fed Ernest the greatest food and drink of all, which is Christ's Body and Blood.  This meal was purchased for Ernest by nothing less than the death of the Son of God.  No greater, more precious meal could be given than what Christ Himself gave to Ernest.

Christ prepared the Way for Ernest, because Christ Himself is the Way.  By His suffering, death, and resurrection, He was the Way for Ernest.  By His Holy Word and Sacraments, Ernest received faith and forgiveness, life and salvation.  There is no other way than Christ by which Ernest could have arrived in heaven.  No man goes to the Father except through Christ.

Now Ernest stands with saints and angels in the presence of Almighty God.  Ernest gazes upon the glorious face of Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Lamb who was slain, the One who did all for Ernest.

May we all be preserved in the same faith and in the same Lord, to stand in the same place, prepared for us.

In the Name of this one Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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