Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Funeral

A couple of Saturdays ago my son and I were driving into town to pick up a few supplies for his school science project. As we drove down one of the main streets in our town we passed by a church and the parking lot was full, cars were parked up and down the street. We soon saw the hearse and limos and realized it was a funeral. About two blocks later we passed another church and saw the same thing. The parking lot was filling up with cars and we saw another hearse and limo. Another funeral!

For some reason the thought came to mind, I wonder who would show up at my funeral. I know this is a somewhat morbid thought but lets face it, we will all face this one day unless Christ returns first! Back to my thought. As I mentioned, I wondered who would show up at my funeral. I have been to funerals where there have been some "very important people" in the crowd and I have been to funerals where I did not recognize anyone other than the family of the loved one.

My mind wandered into thinking about who was at Jesus' funeral. Were there any "VIP's", any "Who's Who" of the day? Was the parking lot full so to speak?
Matthew 27: 57-61 - 57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Three people! That's it! As best we can tell Jesus had three people show up at his funeral. Mark and Luke tell us the same thing, it was Joseph and the two Marys who were there when he was buried. But these were three people who Christ invested in. These were three people who were loved by Christ, who were saved by Christ and who were discipled by by Christ. Mary Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her by Christ. The other Mary was Jesus' mother. She too was poured into by Christ. And finally Joseph of Arimathea. A rich man who was a disciple of Christ. Where was everyone else? Where were the thousands who were fed by Christ? Where were the twelve who walked and lived with Christ for three years? Where was Lazarus, where were the people who were healed by Christ, where was Zacchaeus, where was the Leper who was healed?

Maybe they were scarred. Can you blame them? Look at what just happened to their leader, the one who claimed to me Messiah. Look at how he was treated. Peter was called out for verbally denying Christ but the others may have been doing the same thing with their actions. I guess the question I need to ask is am I doing the same thing. Do I deny Christ with my actions? If I were a follower would I have been at the funeral or would I have been hiding in the crowd. Am I simply hiding in the crowd now? Am I simply a Sunday morning follower of Christ? If so, is that really a follower? Earlier in Matthew, Christ talks about what it take to call yourself a follower:
Matthew 16: 24-27 - 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
You've read this passage before I am sure. Take up your cross and follow me. In other words following Christ has a cost. For some it will cost them their lives. For others it may cost them family and friends and still others it may cost them a job or promotion.
John 15: 18-20 - 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
We have to understand the costs associated with becoming a follower. Have you counted the costs? Are you willing to have people hate you because of your new life. Are you willing to sever relationships that pull you away from Christ? Are you ok with having three people at your funeral instead of three hundred?

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