It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, death hurts. But have you ever wondered why it hurts so much?
It’s true that much of the pain comes from the loss. We live life with other human beings who are also alive. We work with others. We play with others. We love with others. We share happiness with others. We share sadness with others. But when you see the lifeless body of someone you’ve had the privilege of living life with lying in a wooden box, it hurts. You’ll miss living life with that person. But that’s not the only reason it hurts. When we see that person lying there, we receive the ultimate reminder that one day we’ll be lying there too.
Death hurts. Just ask Jesus. “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:32-44)
When faced with the reality that his good friend Lazarus was dead, Jesus experienced the same pain we feel at the loss of a loved one. Jesus was not only deeply moved, he wept. He wept at the tomb of his good friend Lazarus who had been dead 4 days.
Wait… how long? 4 DAYS!? Jesus said “Lazarus, come out!” to a man who had been dead 4 DAYS! There is no room for conspiracy here! No one can say the man wasn’t dead! His cold lifeless body had been wrapped in grave clothes 4 days earlier and laid to rest in a tomb! For Jesus to say, “Lazarus, come out!” is one thing. For Lazarus to actually come out is another!
And that’s not even the best part. Jesus promises to use this power again! Jesus will use his amazing power over death to raise ALL the dead. Jesus’ power over death means everything. It’s our comfort when death hurts. It’s our confidence when staring down our own mortality. And this is just a glimpse of that power. On Sunday, we'll focus not only on this glimpse of Jesus power over death, but on one of Jesus' more loaded statements, "I am the resurrection and the life."
Blessings on the rest of your week!