He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25:8
One of the hardest things to do is preach a funeral. You want to be faithful to the person in celebrating their lives. When you know them well and know their faithfulness to God, it is easier. You only need to overcome your grief to deliver the message. You also want to be faithful to God in providing the good news of Jesus Christ. In God, we find comfort in our grief, and there is the hope of life eternal.
Today's verse speaks to both. Through Jesus Christ’s resurrection, he conquered death. He has gone before us. As his co-heirs, we are promised a place in heaven. God also promises to attend to us in our grief, wiping away our tears. At the same time, we grieve for the departed; we can rejoice for them. They have run their race and have received their reward.
This verse also speaks to a future time when sin will be no more. The Apostle John references Revelation 17:7, "For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Jesus Christ, the sacrificial lamb, not only will reign over all for eternity but will continue to serve as our gentle shepherd.
Precious and loving Lord, we give you thanks for your promise. In our despair and grief, we have hope. You comfort us in our suffering, and you assure us this life is not the end but a beginning. We pray that others may hear and come to accept your promise. In your Son, Jesus Christ our Lamb and Shepherd, we pray. Amen.