Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and
from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters in Christ, Joyce,
sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, friends, the text is from the Gospel of
John, the Gospel reading that you just heard read, which is exactly what Doc
wanted you to hear, because it talks about death and resurrection, something
that you and I cannot get away from given this circumstance around which we are
even gathering this morning.
You mentioned some very beautiful things about your friend
and brother, about your husband and father and grandfather, some very intimate
things. The times that I was able to visit with him, we talked about some very
intimate things. As combat veterans, both of us talked about the horrors of
war, but as fellow believers in Christ, we talked about the very reason his
body was wracked the way it was wracked.
All of us, every day we wake up and every day we grow older,
realize things don’t work quite the way they did the day before or the week
before or the year before. You former athletes know it just doesn’t work the
same way it did when you were spry and young and green. Doc was no different.
Neither am I, and neither are you, for we have all inherited the same damnable
sin of our parents Adam and Eve in the garden, which is why you and I every day
face the very thing that he has passed through and is now waiting for us in
Heaven, along with your beloved Scotty.
The very thing that he has that you and I have and the only
thing that matters in this life is what he gave you kids and friends, and that
is that faith in Jesus Christ. Do you really think that on his death bed he
had any comfort or solace in the very things about which you spoke? I am sure
he did, but his comfort and solace was based upon the faith that God had given
him. Because he knew none of that could change the very thing that he was
being birthed into, which is eternal life. None of those things that he did or
failed to do.
You said it well, Coach. He knew he was a sinner, but he
also knew who his Savior was. And the only thing that mattered unto him was
that very thing. When I say we talked about intimate things, the thing about
which we spoke was he confessed he was a sinner. He confessed and knew that he
needed Christ Jesus. He confessed and knew that the very body and blood with
the bread and wine that I brought to him with the Word preached and proclaimed
was what nourished his soul and which would be that thing that sustained him
through the very situation inwhich his body found itself and of which you
and I are facing every day.
In that Gospel reading, some very intimate things were
spoken about, about death. For a man who had seen all kinds of death, not only
in his combat experience, as well as in his practice, he did know the very
solution for such death and ugliness of death, the very thing that Mary and
Martha and Lazarus himself clung to, the God-man Christ Jesus who called
Lazarus forth from that tomb.
Prior to our service this morning, we laid his body and
earthly remains to rest in that cemetery off of Hancock. There they will stay,
there they will decompose, and there they will be found by our God when He
cries out, “It is finished,” and there it will be raised again in a glorified
beautiful body where you will see your father and husband again. You will feel
his embrace again, as well as Scotty’s. You will hear his voice. All of that
is the real aspect of what sets the Christian faith apart, that thing which
marks us as God’s children. Not a god that is abstract and that must be
pleased and appeased, but a God who came in the flesh, a God who saw and
conquered death and gives the fruits of the victory, the perfectly graded test
to us all as ours without any merit or worthiness within me.
Intimate things cause a lot of emotion to bubble up within
us, don’t they? You proclaimed that in your actions and reactions this
morning. You will proclaim that many, many times in the coming months and years
as you remember things. As you face your own family situations, crises, and
turmoils, so did your Lord and Savior, for He faced all of that in bearing all
of the things of which we are ashamed and of which He chose to willingly die
We talked about Doc serving a brothel. That’s a beautiful
example of Christ serving you, lest we think we are better than any prostitute
or whore. We, too, are the same for the bridegroom about which you spoke,
Coach, is Christ Himself, and we are the bride. He is the one who clothes our
lack of virginity with holiness and his white garment. It is His blood about
which you spoke, Coach, that covers and signs our certificate as having been
And I guarantee you, if Doc was here, he’d preach it
stronger than I’m preaching it now, because he’s seen his God with his own
eyes, just as Job spoke about in the Old Testament. These are the things that
matter. These are gifts that the stock market can’t touch, nor can a Democrat,
nor can a Republican, whoever is elected today. These are the things that are
part of what he stood for as a man who fought for his country, but more
importantly, they are the very things that he believed and died in.
In the name of his Savior, my Savior, your Savior, and all
y’all’s, Jesus Himself.