Death hits us hard. We hate seeing the affliction of people we love, and we hate suffering when we have to do it ourselves. Death separates us, and there are too many messy emotions.
Max Lucado says, “Something about death makes us accuse God of betrayal. ‘If God were here, there’d be no death!’ we claim.” Max calls death “our ultimate dilemma.”
Max writes about the passage in John 11, the story of sisters Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus, of Bethany, who were Jesus’ much-loved friends. Jesus heard about Lazarus’ desperate illness, but he waited three days to go to Bethany, and by that time, Lazarus had died. Jesus talked about belief to his disciples: “…I am glad for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe.”
He was concerned about Martha’s belief. She was a little testy with him, saying if he had been there, Lazarus would not have died. He said her brother would rise again, and she said sure, sure, “in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus responded, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
"Yes, Lord," she said, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
Everybody was talking in sort of accusatory tones about how Jesus could have saved him from death if he had come sooner. By this time, there was an odor. Too late. He had been there four days. But Jesus, moved to tears, prayed, "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." Then he told them to roll away the stone at the entrance to the grave. He called to Lazarus to come out, and he did. People gasped, amazed. They believed.
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
The thing is, God never leaves us alone, even though we may turn our backs on him, angry and defiant and determined to try to cope with it ourselves, without his help. Max says “if God is God anywhere, he has to be God in the face of death.” Only God has the power to deal with it. We can’t handle death’s destruction alone. Lazarus, of course, eventually did die and remain in the grave. The story of Lazarus shows that God can do what he says he will do--give us eternal life. Do you believe this?
Here is a link to this amazing story, John 11, from Bible Gateway.
These thoughts come from Day 23 of Max Lucado’s Lenten Bible study Only Jesus--Forty Days with the Son.
The "Death" picture is borrowed from poetry.wordpress.com/