“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26 (NRSV)
When reading the Bible, I often like to envision myself as one of the characters in the story. The interaction between Mary and Jesus is especially poignant for me. Read through these verses again and imagine yourself in the scene:
“When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. … Jesus began to weep.” (Matthew 11:32-33,35, NRSV)
I’ve experienced death in my family; in fact, my mother died in my arms. The gut-wrenching pain of that temporary goodbye as my mom passed from this life into the next is still so fresh in my heart and mind, even though that was over seven years ago. It’s easy for me to imagine myself in Mary’s shoes, kneeling at the feet of Jesus, crying in agony over the death of someone dear to me.
Whenever I am randomly transported back to that very moment of my mom’s passing (and if you’ve experienced some kind of trauma, you’d know what I mean), it’s the interaction between Martha and Jesus that brings me hope. When Martha came to Jesus, He first revealed who He is (v.25) then followed it up with a very important question (v.26). I admire Martha's response: a confession of faith.
“Goodbye makes my throat hurt.” - Charlie Brown
Goodbyes are hard. Death is the necessary ending to our earthly journey. Even though Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus’ life on earth still eventually came to an end. But do not lose hope! Remember the words of our Lord to Mary and Martha! Rest today in the peace of Christ’s victory over death.
This season of Lent is the perfect time to reflect upon Jesus’ own journey to the cross. Imagine yourself in the shoes of Mary, Jesus’ mother, as well as His followers. How would you feel at the moment of Jesus’ death? Take some time this week reading over the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ moments on the cross.
Pray for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Send them a short text/Facebook message/email letting them know that you’re praying for them today!
Related: "THIS SUCKS!" AND OTHER THINGS JESUS DIDN'T SAY ON THE CROSS