Thursday, April 14, 2011

“Do you believe this?”

There is a beautiful story found in the gospel of John. It is a story of death, loss, and hurt. But it is also a story of victory and resurrection. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are all good friends of Jesus. Lazarus gets very sick quickly. Mary and Martha send someone to get Jesus. Jesus is several towns over and does not get there in time. Lazarus has died. Once Jesus gets there, Martha comes out to greet him and says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

You can hear the hurt and disappointment in her words. Many of us have had these same emotions: sadness, confusion, and frustration. Jesus sees her and many others crying. He goes to the tomb of Lazarus. And then we have the shortest verse in the entire Bible and perhaps the most powerful. Verse 35 simply states that, “Jesus wept.” We see in this text that Christ is not removed or distant from our life. When you hurt…he hurts. When you cry…he cries. He cares deeply about each of us and what we are going through.

The story concludes by Jesus telling the people to roll the stone away. He then shouts, “Lazarus come out.” Immediately Lazarus walks out of the tomb. Earlier in the story when Martha stated, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus gives her an interesting reply: he says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this?

Ultimately, this is a question each of us has to answer. Easter is a day when we are reminded that the answer is YES! Easter reminds us that death and sin do not have the last word.

The Apostle Paul, when speaking about the resurrection says these words: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Do we believe this? If we do, then our earthly life is not the end. Yes, we will still have times of sorrow and sadness. Yet, in the midst of our grief we can have hope and faith….because we believe in a God who makes all things new. We trust in a Savior who brings redemption and life.