“He is not an idol to be worshiped… He is an example to be followed.”
This was the last public address Rusty Thomas, father of Jeremiah Thomas, made to the crowd gathered around the casket, before lowering the body of his son into the ground.
The Thomas family have been friends of mine for a few years. I first had the opportunity to stand with them in College Station, Texas, when Operation Save America joined Abolitionists for a weekend of outreach to expose abortion and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
Listening to the kindness in Rusty’s voice, the hospitality in his wife, Kendra, and their children, the sincerity and boldness in his prayers, left me amazed and inspired. Every time I had the chance to visit with them or march with them, they expressed clearly through their actions what they believe: the sacrifice and the love of Jesus, not just for their preborn neighbor, but also for their born neighbor.
They were there to pray for me and provide me with food, books, as well as outreach materials to give to friends in need.
The news that their son had cancer was a familiar blow to me, as I had just lost my uncle to a very similar battle with cancer three months before Jeremiah received his diagnosis at 16 years-of-age. I was holding onto the hope that, even if the doctors decided there was nothing they could do, Jeremiah could receive supernatural healing and divine intervention. God did intervene, but He had something in mind other than physical healing.
I had the opportunity to visit Jeremiah at MD Anderson hospital in Houston. He was the happiest cancer patient I had ever seen. It was there I learned about his plan to use his Make-a-Wish Foundation wish to contact Governor Abbott about completely and immediately abolishing abortion in the State of Texas. I had my doubts that it could happen.
Then it did.
The news of Jeremiah Thomas went worldwide. His call to his generation went viral and spread to multiple countries and was translated into many languages. His story reached several conservative or pro-life news outlets. He received hatred from his pro-abortion peers who were telling his mother she was receiving a 16-year-late abortion. His response was love, prayer, and forgiveness for his enemies. One of the speakers at the funeral commented that in his life and death, he accomplished more than his elder pro-life colleagues had done in decades of service.
I am not exaggerating when I say Jeremiah’s funeral was the best funeral I have ever been to and one of the best sermons I have ever heard.
It was a blessing to see people from various ministries, which have their differences of opinion, set those differences aside to support a family they considered their own. Representatives from End Abortion Now, Abolish Abortion Texas, Operation Save America, Abolitionist Societies, a representative for Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Activist Mommy and her family, all came to pay their respects to a fallen warrior.
People from across the nation flew in to say their final, yet temporary, goodbyes, believing the promise of the Resurrection that we will see Jeremiah again in Heaven.
Pro-abortion protesters were expected to picket Jeremiah’s funeral. They never showed up, but abolitionists, bikers, and police guarded the church in case they ever did.
At a table, featured with memoirs of Jeremiah, were items including photos and football memorabilia, but also included were gifts and reminders from others who had contacted Jeremiah to encourage him to stay strong as he fought.
A chain of names was made of people who had called Jeremiah in the hospital, including Ray Comfort the evangelist and maker of the 180 Movie, Emeal “E.Z.” Zwayne of Living Waters Ministries, Chris Pratt, Governor Abbott, Tim Tebow, worship artist Kari Jobe, and others.
A printed-out prayer which Jeremiah had made was framed and featured on the table, praising God whether or not He healed him. Next to that was a framed resolution given to the Thomas family by Texas representative Tony Tinderholt, who became infamous among the pro-abortion community after he filed HB948, which would have criminalized abortion entirely had it passed. He is going to file the bill again in Jeremiah’s honor and strive to pass what he calls “Jeremiah’s Law.”
While waiting in the sanctuary for the funeral to begin, the video of Jeremiah’s baptism played. This is what was marked as the turning point in Jeremiah’s life. At this OSA Kentucky event, everyone in attendance received baptism, but it was Rusty baptizing his own son while declaring to God that Jeremiah always belonged to Christ and never to himself that made rounds. Before this moment in his life, Jeremiah had admitted to playing the hypocrite by living a double life, but it was after this that Jeremiah poured out the rest of his life in devotion to Christ and to the cause of abolishing abortion.
He would stand on top of vans and openly preach with a microphone to listening ears, displaying graphic images of abortion victims as he preached. Even when cancer crushed his spine to the point where doctors told him he would never walk again, he responded by saying, “I’ll just preach from my wheelchair.” Which he did, both in front of churches and outside of Planned Parenthood, even while in excruciating pain. Even on his deathbed, as he was holding onto a bar to lift himself up to bring air into his blood-filled lungs, he clung to his faith.
Before the speakers had their turns, Jeremiah’s older brother Josiah led the congregation in worship. It was not just music. The Thomas family and their supporters were pouring out their hearts with their hands held high as they sang, “Let go, my soul, and trust in Him. The wind and waves still know His Name.” Multiple people had also written music in memory of Jeremiah, and an Australian artist had her musical tribute featured in the funeral.
The first speaker was Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Church in Wisconsin. He has been in the fight against abortion for decades through his organizations, Missionaries to the Preborn and Abolish Abortion Wisconsin, and is the author of The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, where he details his plan to defy the tyrannical ruling of Roe v. Wade.
A long-time friend of the Thomas’, he stated that when his family learned of Jeremiah’s passing, their home of multiple children and grandchildren turned from a house of constant noise to one of weeping. Nevertheless, he was proud of the legacy Jeremiah left, and he looked forward to what was to come, declaring that Christ be praised.
In the sermon, Operation Rescue veteran Flip Benham, whom Jeremiah Flip Thomas is named after, wasted no time in letting everyone watching in person and over live video know the central point of the life of Jeremiah was: Jesus. He was unashamed to proclaim salvation only by grace through faith in Christ leading to repentance, no other god and no other religion. This is the Jesus who Jeremiah believed in and experienced for himself a year before his diagnosis.
Flip’s sermon focused on the Hall of Faith passage in Hebrews 11, from which Jeremiah himself had preached to a church in his wheelchair before his passing. Flip emphasized Job 13:15, which states, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.” This has been the example we have witnessed in the Thomas family. Though God has allowed such a tragedy to take place, their focus has remained on praising the Savior in the midst of their circumstances.
Even pro-abortion escorts at abortion mills were complaining to Flip about Jeremiah, wondering why God was allowing Jeremiah to suffer the way he did. They were mad at a God they claimed they didn’t believe in. The Thomas family’s response has been instead to acknowledge that God is always good no matter what He decides for our lives.
The final speaker was Jeremiah’s own father. Rusty held himself together remarkably well, despite everything he had just been through in this devastating battle. He made it evident that he remembered Jeremiah was not in the casket; he referred to the deceased body as his son’s “shell.” At the end of his message, Rusty specifically called for everyone 21 and under to come to the front of the stage. About half of the gathering went forward, my friend Jace sitting next to me being one of them. Rusty’s call to the young people was to pick up the baton which Jeremiah could no longer hold onto and to stand against the culture of death, not just in the arena of abortion, but wherever death reared its ugly head, including cutting and suicide.
After everyone sat back down, the Parkview Christian School Pacers football team remained in front of the casket. Since Jeremiah was their team captain, and since he was no longer able to lead them in their chant, his older brother did it in his place. The teammates then unveiled a banner they had made specially for him, then rolled his casket through it, allowing Jeremiah to make a game entrance one last time.
This concluded the funeral, but the graveside service included more tributes from the football team, Flip, and as mentioned at the beginning of this article, a final exhortation from his father.
It is my wish to encourage you, the reader, to heed the call of Jeremiah’s father and to take hold of the baton which Jeremiah has passed to us. Wherever you are, you can contribute in some way to the fight to end abortion now. Do not compromise any longer with this culture of death. Christ gives new life to all who trust in Him, and He came to destroy the works of the one who has power over death. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Submit to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide you to take part in this kingdom-battle against child sacrifice.
Jeremiah Thomas is not an idol to be worshipped. He is an example to be followed. Go and do likewise.
The entirety of the funeral can be viewed here.
The Thomas family is also still in need of help with Jeremiah’s hospital bills, which are in the hundreds of thousands. You can donate to the family here.
Send love to the Thomas family in the comments section below!
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