Jesus Wept

Left end of the upper register of the Sarcophagus of Jonah: The
Left end of the upper register of the Sarcophagus of Jonah: The Raising of Lazarus

October 1, 2016

John 11

Is there anything more heartbreaking than the death of a loved one?  Here I see something that moves the heart of God to tears.

Reading through chapter 11 of John’s gospel, I’m faced with a section of text that is often found at funeral services.  The encounter between Jesus, Mary & Martha at the death of their brother, Lazarus.  I find it interesting that John gives the detail about who exactly this Mary is (as there were numerous women named Mary mentioned in the Scriptures).  Not only is it detail about Mary being the one who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair, but John mentions this detail before that perfume event happens (that’s tomorrow’s blog – chapter 12).

In vv. 4-6 I see a connection between the purpose of Lazarus raising and the blind man healing in chapter 9.  It’s all for God to be glorified.  With Lazarus, even the Son of God will be glorified, not just the Father.

I find it intriguing that in v. 14-15, Jesus speaks about Lazarus’ rising and Jesus need to return to Judea where they tried to stone Him already.  Then, in v. 16 the one disciple mentioned is Thomas.  Commonly known as doubting Thomas (Easter), I read more of his words that don’t believe anything great is going to happen with Lazarus but instead, they are going to all die by going back to Judea.

As Jesus talks with Martha, I encounter many familiar words about Jesus being the resurrection and the life.  “I am” again, Jesus says.  He is . . . the resurrection.  It is so simple.  So powerful.  So unbelievable for the arrogant and yet so incredibly comforting for one humble in faith.

This chapter describes what moves God to tears (v. 35, 38).  Contrary to what many people whimsically state, death is not part of life.  It is the opposite of life.  Death is the opposite of what God created and God’s plan for His people.  Because death is a consequence of sin, I will certainly taste such demise.  Yet my hope is found in the One who conquered death Himself and gave a foreshadowing of it through the events with Lazarus.

What would it have been liked to walk with Lazarus post-grave?  Would he have stories to tell?  I find nothing in Scripture about his experience with the afterlife.  Obviously, that isn’t important.  What is important is knowing who gives the gift of life everlasting.

PRAYERJesus, seeing Your humanness in this chapter of John brings comfort to my heart and soul.  I realize You are Lord of all, defeater of death, for all who believe.  Keep me strong in faith to trust in You as I live in a world full of deceit, death and destruction.

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