Attending funerals

Acts 5:6 - And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

A few days back someone at my Bible class put a very dicey question to me. As Believers do we attend funerals?

In the Bible we have Jesus stating 'let the dead bury their dead'.

As people in the light we know people really do not die. Their body dies but they continue living. Mourning for someone who died believed in the Lord is like mocking the salvation of the person.

On the other hand we have some Christians who carry the dead with musical band and rejoicing as if the person was in prison serving a life term and was set free.

In India we have a region where Catholics have a party after burying the person and the main highlight of the funeral where is body is taken in a grand procession with musical band leading and even with people dancing, is the party where people are served unlimited alcohol. If there is a shortage of good food or alcohol the family is mocked for not loving the dead person enough. People take loans to do funerals like they do to marriages.

In the Bible we see a similar situation at the funeral of Lazarus. The family had hired professional mourners to cry for the dead at the house of Lazarus. When Jesus saw this and what they had done to the body of Lazarus in the name of traditions, Jesus wept. People think He wept because He loved Lazarus, but they do not understand Jesus knew he died long time before and He also knew He came there to bring Lazarus to life again, so it did not make sense for Jesus to cry for Lazarus. But when He saw what was going on, on His arrival He wept. It is written He was troubled before He cried.

We as Believers should cry for people when they are alive and not when they die like David did. Yes we need to respect the body of the dead and make sure it is given a burial or put away with respect (like at sea one cannot bury so can submerge the body or if land is not available one can also cremate).

Since we lack knowledge of the Truth we feel the loss of people. Jesus called His mother 'woman' not out of disrespect, neither as great respect also, but because He was aware of the Truth. He did love His mother at the same time He loved all the others around Him the same (that is why He called many by His mother's name). Being part of the family He was put in He did do His duty towards them. But at the same time He knew He was part of the greater family the Heavenly family. That is why He first fulfilled His duty towards them, at the same time growing in Spirit and wisdom and then He started His ministry according to the Father's plan.

It is a hard truth but we need to remember relationship of father, mother, brother, sister, wife, husband, daughter, son etc. are all earthly. When a person dies that spirit is no one's father, mother, sister, brother, wife or husband or any earthly relationship.

In Heaven Jesus stated we would be like the Angels not given in marriage for in Heaven there is not gender like we have on earth. The Angels are called Sons not because they are all male. Angels are spirit being, the term Sons is to do with the spiritual image of God in them not earthly gender.

In today's message we see when the Church was in one accord and one mind and the Spirit of God was great on the Church, they sent the youth to do the task of burying the dead. The person who died did make mistake but he was a Believer so they did respect the body by wrapping it in cloth and took it out of town where the dead are buried and buried it.

Ideally funeral is a task for the youth (spiritually young) and not for the spiritual mature. But when the question was put to me I did also explain them the other part of it. Like Jesus went to the funeral of Lazarus to glory God (by bringing Lazarus to life), I too go to funerals only to glorify God. I have not bought any dead to life like Jesus did, but I speak to those who around who are spiritually dead and bring light in them. I will share 2 occasions...

One was a funeral of a Catholic friend's father who died of cancer but when alive had harden his heart against God. He was almost an atheist. He thought himself to be very intellectual. I wanted to meet him but my friend did not allow me since he was a very strong minded person and she was scared if I would be hard with him. At the funeral we were in 2 buses, in one which I sat with the family I came to know his daughter in law with and my friend sister in law with whom I would also interact gave him the Gospel just before he died and the person repented for him sins and accepted Christ just before he died. When I came to know of this I opened their minds to understand what a great news it was. Soon the bus was no longer a funeral bus but was more a picnic bus. There was joy and laugher in our bus, the family members no longer were mourning. Even at the grave they did not cry.

Also at the death of my brother in law who died a month back was far from knowing God. He was a Catholic and neither religious or spiritual. For him belief was not essential. He worked in the Gulf and was here for a few days. I was trying to meet him the day he died to share the Gospel with him. But unfortunately he died in a drastic accident. His wife (my sister) and her children we greatly heart broken. Since there was none to help them at the time I did take care of the procedures of the funeral but left all the ritualistic (unbiblical) things for others to do.

I spoke to them about life and death just before the funeral. After the funeral when people meet each other, they were very upset with me because I behaved as if no one died and was my usual joyful self. Later they realized their mistake and called me the next day to apologize. After that their attitude towards the loss changed. They no longer were mourning.

For Jesus' own funeral the people around tried to do the rituals of men (traditions) to the body of Jesus but were not allowed. They had put spices around the body to keep the body from smelling since they had to keep it for 2 days in the tomb shut. The next day (Friday) was a High Sabbath and the day after that was the weekly Sabbath. But when they came on Sunday to do the traditions of the Egyptians which the Jews followed like they did to Lazarus they did not find the body. This embalming as I learnt the way Egyptians did was remove the internal organs and stuff a paste of spices in the body. Mary Magdalene was so obsessed with doing the rituals (traditions for they had prepared the paste and bought it) that she did not realize she was asking Angels for Jesus' body and the height of it was when she was asking Jesus himself for His body. She did not realize He had resurrected for her love took a wrong form, she thought by doing the tradition she was expressing her love to Jesus.

Let us not be children of the darkness having no truth in us, but let us be children of light with knowledge and understanding in us. Let us know this life is just a process of exposing the precious metal from the not precious metals, filtering God's children from the children of Satan by the exposing of hearts of people. Let not traditions of man take away the truth from us.

Like I wrote yesterday we become a living soul when we come alive in our mother's womb, until we die this earthly life. The word used for living soul when Adam was made means a mouldable soul. That means before our birth although we existed and our soul existed, it was not mouldable and was corrupt due to our fore fathers and when we die before or soul again becomes unmould able we have a choice of what we do with our soul. Do we accept Christ and let the Holy Spirit bring the Truth in us and make our soul like that of Jesus so that we go to Heaven? That is our choice.

[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we were created by You in the beginning. You knew us even before we came alive in this world. You planned the best for us because You know us and your wisdom is beyond measure. You put us among certain people not by change but with knowledge, knowing what is best for us, to change us and help us overcome. You put us to test Lord, but do not let us to be broken. We go through real bad situations only when we remove You out of our lives. Lord, help us understand live better and walk in light...

This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.

[ Reference ]
Acts 5:5-6, 10
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

2 Samuel 12:16-20
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.

John 11:32-36
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

Luke 9:60 - Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Matthew 22:30 - For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

The Word of God was given free to us, therefore we should also share it freely with others.
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