(Jesus said) “I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all.” John 11:25,26 The Message
My heart is heavy this morning. The darkness and sorrow of Holy Week has come early this year. There are never the right words to explain the slaughter of innocents, like the victims of the shooting in Nashville. There aren’t now… except that we have an enemy whose job is to “steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) and he just did it again. But, thank God, there’s more to the story.
There was for Lazarus.
You remember (John 11:1-44.) It was reported to Jesus that His dear friend Lazarus was seriously ill. Instead of rushing to the bedside and healing him, He waited inexplicably until Lazarus had died and was buried four days. Max Lucado, in his book “In the Footsteps of the Savior,” reveals something I’ve never seen before. When Lazarus’ sister Martha came out to meet Jesus, she was angry.
“She’d hoped Jesus would show up to heal Lazarus. He didn’t. Then she’d hoped he’d show up to bury Lazarus. He didn’t. By the time he made it to Bethany, Lazarus was four-days buried, and Martha was wondering what kind of friend Jesus was.
’Lord, if you had been here,’ she confronts, ‘my brother would not have died.’
There is hurt in those words. Hurt and disappointment. The one man who could have made a difference didn’t, and Martha wants to know why.”
You wonder if it’s okay to question, even be mad at God? Here’s your answer.
Notice Jesus’ response. He did not explain His absence or defend it. He was “troubled in spirit” (vs. 33) even “deeply angry” (The Message)—not at the sisters, but at the evil forces who brought such suffering to people He loved. His heart of compassion felt their sorrow. How do we know? Because He wept. (vs. 35)
As He weeps with us today. We have a God Who grieves for us and with us.
Even more amazing: we have a God Who does something about our grief. Lazarus walks out of his grave. Resurrected. Jesus’ triumphant promise to Martha was enacted before her eyes. As He was about to do for all of them, for all of us, for all believers to the “end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Let’s walk together into Holy Week and allow that sight, that blessed hope to lift our hearts and renew our faith.
LORD JESUS: You are the Resurrection, the Life that conquers death forever. Help us to know and believe that. Amen.
To be published “Bozeman Daily Chronicle,” Sunday April 2, 2023.