Texts: Lamentations 3:22-33; Psalm 51; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Luke 8:4-15
In a time like this, when someone young and with so much promise unexpectedly dies, we just can’t believe it, can’t understand it. Why would a young man like Adam, so full of joy and generosity and love – so clearly hearing the Word of God and holding it fast in a honest and good heart and bearing fruit with patience – why would God call Adam, so full of love, to Himself now?
- his parents
- his brother
- his sister
- his grandparents
- his aunts, uncles, cousins
- his friends
- his church
- being Lutheran
- Star Wars
- telling jokes
- all sorts of interesting theories
- telling me and anyone who would listen all about the interesting theories he’d been pondering
- inventing things
- telling me and anyone who would listen all about the things that he invented
- taking care of people
- Jesus, his Lord and Savior.
But more importantly – no most importantly – Jesus loves Adam. And this is where we’re going to find comfort and answers. Not in Adam’s love for anything, but in Jesus Christ’s love for Adam.
So let me tell you about Jesus, Adam’s Lord.
Yesterday we heard those wonderful words from John, chapter 3 – the same words on the inside of the casket lid: ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. The love of God for the world – and that includes Adam – is what’s going to sustain us today, and in the weeks and months and years to come. Because of Jesus, God’s Son, giving Himself into death for our sins, death has no sting, no power. There is nothing to fear from death, in Jesus. Because of Jesus, God’s Son, conquering death by His own death, we receive all good things from God the Father. Because of Jesus, God’s Son, being raised from death on the Third Day (on that first Easter), we live now in the promise and hope of everlasting life with God, with Jesus, and with Adam.
Adam fell asleep in Christ; he fell asleep in the promise that Christ’s death and resurrection have been given to him; that Christ death and resurrection are Adam’s own death and resurrection. We have confidence in this because God has attached this promise to Holy Baptism and Adam, on December 14, 2003, was baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Gary and Terry, you faithfully, expectantly believed God’s promise and command and brought Adam to the Font in order to be born again in this new birth of water and the Spirit.
Paul writes about this in Romans and we spoke aloud those promises just a little while ago when the pall was put on Adam’s casket. Christ’s death and resurrection – death to sin, alive to God – became Adam’s death to death and promise of everlasting life when he was baptized. ”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 him in a resurrection like his.”
In Baptism, Jesus loves Adam. The Lord sprinkled clean water on Adam. He took Adam’s heart of stone – now it’s hard to imagine that he had a heart of stone, ever! But we trust in what God tells us about ourselves: we are sinful and unrighteous from the very beginning. ”Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Yet the Lord, by grace and in love, took that heart of stone and gave Adam a heart of flesh. He put His Spirit within Adam so that Adam would live, love, and do the good works prepared beforehand for him to do. A clean heart was created in Adam, and the right Spirit was put within him. All of this is the work of God, the gift of God.
Just over a year ago Adam stood up here at this altar, after being instructed in the teachings of the Christian Faith – although to be honest he knew most of what we covered in catechism class already – he stood up here and confessed his faith in Christ. He said “I believe in God the Father Almighty…I believe in Jesus Christ my Lord…I believe in the Holy Spirit!” ”If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Adam’s confession that Jesus is Lord is a gift of God, flowing from Adam’s Baptism into Christ.
And then faithfully, just about every week – probably every week – Adam came to this Altar and received the Lord’s Supper. He ate the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ given for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus loves Adam: He says, “For you!” Adam said back, “for me!” The Lord blessed Adam with forgiveness, life, and salvation in that meal. Just this past Sunday, about 24 hours before Adam fell asleep in Christ, he gladly ate and drank the eternal-life-giving food that Jesus fed to him.
Thanks be to God, we therefore have confidence and assurance that Adam now rests from his labors in the paradise of heaven, with Jesus, waiting for the last day when in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, Adam will be raised from the dead imperishable and will live in the glorious eternal presence and bliss of life with Christ. All of us who are in Christ have this promise, this hope; and we have this joyful expectation of this being a happy reunion with all of those who have gone before us in Christ, Adam included.
Last Advent, Adam came up to Mrs. Schuermann and me and told us his favorite Christmas hymn: Paul Gerhardt’s “O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is.” I’ll close with the last stanza of this hymn:
”The world may hold Her wealth and gold; But thou, my heart, keep Christ as thy true treasure. To Him hold fast Until at last A crown be thine and honor in full measure.”
As Adam sang this hymn, he prayed this prayer. Jesus loves Adam and said, “yes.” The Lord enlivened Adam’s heart in baptism, He fed Adam’s hungry heart with His Supper, and He sustained Adam’s believing heart with His Word. And now the Lord Jesus has given Adam the crown of life in full measure, according to His promise. On the Last Day He will raise Adam from the dead.
Jesus loves Adam. All of these promises, all of what Jesus has done: these are what we must cling to for assurance and comfort. ”The Lord is my portion; therefore I will hope in him.” In the darkest night, Christ’s mercy is our light.
”Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ”His mercy endures forever.”