A Contrast of Funerals

I don’t know about you but I am amazed at the attention given to the funeral arrangements and burial of Michael Jackson. I realize that he had a great impact on our society, but I just cannot fathom all the attention being paid to him.

His burial stands in marked contrast to two other burials in the Bible. The mangled body of John the Baptist was ignored by most, but not by those who knew him. The Divine record states, “Then the disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus” (Matt. 14:12). Had it not been for these disciples, the greatest man who had ever lived up until that time (Matt. 11:11) would have passed and none would have been aware of it. What a contrast between MJ and JB!

There was another burial which should be noted. Can you imagine how the ungodly world would view the body of one who had been stoned? When Paul was stoned at Lystra, his enemies dragged his body outside the city and left it. The same might have happened to the body of Stephen, first Christian martyr. He would have left this earth unnoticed except for those early Christians. “And devout men carried Stephen to his burial and made great lamentations over him.” Now compare the true worth of Stephen with that of Michael Jackson and stand in awe of the attention the world gives one it views as important.

There is another death to consider, even though there is no record of him ever being buried. Jesus told about an unnamed rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. He described the end of their lives. “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried” (Luke 16:22). I’m not sure who will carry the body of Michael to its destiny, but I know who carried the soul of a Lazarus to its destiny. Think about it. Which of these “burials” really has meaning?

We all shall die and it really doesn’t matter that much about our funerals. All that matters is whether the angels are there to take us to the Lord. In 1860, Jefferson summed it up so well with these words.

O come, angel band,

Come and around me stand;

O bear me away on your snowy wings,

To my eternal home.

O bear me away on your snowy wings,

To my eternal home.

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