Death is like an unwelcome visitor who enters without being invited, interrupts without pardon, takes without asking, and leaves without remorse. In less than ten years, all four of my grandparents died. I remember thinking two thoughts when the fourth passed. My first was, “I was fortunate to have known all four of my grandparents.” My second: “All of my grandparents are dead!”
Jesus experienced the grief and reality of death firsthand. He plainly told His disciples in John 11: “Lazarus is dead” (v. 14). Jesus had been staying across the Jordan River where John the Baptist had previously been ministering (see John 10:40), when news came to Jesus about His friend Lazarus’s illness (v. 3). The apostle John stresses the love that Jesus had for Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary (vv. 3, 5). We would expect Jesus to hurry to Bethany to care for Lazarus. Instead, He stayed two more days (v. 6).
At that point Jesus invites His disciples to travel back to Judea with Him (v. 7). He informs His disciples that He is going to wake Lazarus for he has fallen asleep (v. 11). This is understood by the disciples as literal sleep, but Jesus knew that Lazarus had died (vv. 12–13).
Jesus also said to the disciples, “I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe” (v. 15). Although Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, He remained across the Jordan until Lazarus died, so that His disciples would witness His resurrection power and grow in their faith.
>> Death may be an unwelcome visitor, but Jesus is a permanent resident in the life of the believer. Through His resurrection Jesus defeated death once and for all! Until we get to eternity, God can use death and the losses we encounter to increase our faith. No matter what we face, He walks with us through the valley of death and loss.
We turn to You in loss and grief, finding hope in You and Your promise of eternity with You. Without You there truly is no point in life and no purpose in suffering. Thank You for the already/not yet restoration You have promised.