Dissertations, Funerals, and the Bedrock of the Gospel

I helped bury a man today. This, of course, is not uncommon for a pastor. One of the distinct honors I have in my role as a pastor is to walk with people in seasons of grief–especially after the loss of a loved one.

The timing of this funeral was no accident. In the providence of God, nothing is. Coming at the end of a two-week writing leave to finish my dissertation, this funeral is a powerful reminder to me that life cannot be lived in theory. In other words, in life we need more than a thesis argued well; we need bedrock on which to stand.

Jesus didn’t come to make an argument. He didn’t come to advance a thesis. The Lord of Glory came to proclaim good news. And the good news He proclaimed was Himself. Consider how Luke’s gospel depicts Jesus’ ministry as one of fulfillment and proclamation:

And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 

In the person and work of Christ we see the good news of God for sinners. And in this good news the Christian will stand in joy eternal.

I love to study. And I appreciate greatly an argument well made. But at the end of the day I’m deeply grateful that my hope for eternity does not rest on a fine sounding thesis, but on the promise of God in Christ for me.

By giving me the privilege of officiating a funeral today God graciously reminded me that life is not to be lived in theory, but on the bedrock of the gospel. And in this I rejoice.

[image credit]

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