Earlier this year, I received an invitation to attend a high-school class reunion. Most of my old classmates are still alive. However, a few have died, and I’ve often wondered if I will see them again.
In John 7:17, we find Jesus arriving in the town of Bethany. His good friend Lazarus had “been in the tomb for four days,” and many friends had arrived to comfort Lazarus’s sisters, Martha and Mary. Hearing that Jesus was in town, Martha left their home to meet Him.
Amid her sorrow she stated, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (v. 21). Martha believed that Jesus had the power to keep death from overtaking her brother. In fact, she implied by her next statement, that Jesus could change the present reality by making a request of God. She said, “But I know even now God will give you whatever you ask” (v. 22).
Jesus consoled Martha by telling her, “Your brother will rise again” (v. 23). Martha didn’t fully understand what Jesus was telling her, as she said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day (v. 24). But Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (v. 25).
Martha’s “theology” wasn’t wrong, just incomplete. The ultimate resurrection will take place at some time in the future. However, Jesus wanted to clarify that He is the source of both the resurrection and eternal life. That day, Lazarus would live!
>> Although the loss of loved ones on earth is painful, we can be thankful that death does not have the final word. Those who have put their faith in Jesus have eternal life now and forever. Jesus Himself is the resurrection. All who believe in Him will experience the future resurrection and can experience His present resurrection power in their lives today.
Death, which we brought into the world, is one of humanity’s biggest reproaches against You. Many ask how they can love a God who allows death and suffering. Father, may You reveal Yourself to these people and grant them eternal life!