John 11:1-37 (ESV)
The Death of Lazarus
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
There are times in our lives when darkness seems to engulf us; times when hope seems to be the last possible thing that we could imagine feeling. Often it sneaks up on us when we are not looking. It can take our breath away with how quickly the intrusion into our ordinary lives creates a new normal for us to live in. We end up marking time the rest of our lives with the arrival of this uninvited quest; Before (fill in the blank) and After (fill in the blank).
For some of you there does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Some of you have a nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach that you maybe weathered the first part of the storm but something larger is approaching. And still some feel confident that you were able to overcome this “minor interruption” but in the back of your mind as you drift to sleep doubts begin to creep in.
So do we have hope? Yes, Jesus walked this path with us. His life wasn’t interrupted because He knows all things but when He, as a man, felt the magnitude of the loss of Lazarus, He wept. And he weeps with us. He gives us permission to be undone. And He holds us there.
Jesus, thank you for grieving before us, with us and for us. You make a path through our lose to light. Keep us in your hands because it is hard for us to believe that there is good during this part of the journey with you. We need your strength. We need your hope. We need your faith. We need your obedience. Thank you for giving it to us. Amen
Many of us have been taught to hide our sorrow or hurt. Jesus does not want you to hide anything. He gave us our emotions to draw us toward Himself. Take time today to cry. Cry over your sin. Cry over a relationship that has ended. Cry over a loved one who has died. Cry and know that Jesus is present and weeping with you.