Leaning into Grief
We acknowledge that the meaning of our deepest experiences is often hidden from our eyes.
John 11 is one of the more emotional windows into the ministry of Jesus. In this chapter, Jesus confront grief, and in the process, teaches us valuable lessons.
Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, send word to Jesus that Lazarus, the one Jesus loves, is sick. This was not an explicit invitation or a request for immediate intervention. However, the assumption is that once Jesus heard, he would immediately come.
Mary and Martha knew of his tender compassion. They understood Jesus’ heartfelt affection for their brother. And yet, when Jesus receives word about his good friend’s condition, he delays even beginning his journey to Bethany for another two days.
The Gospel writer tells us that Jesus delayed because loved them. He delayed that God would be glorified. And yet, imagine waiting for Jesus. He has the power to heal, he has a history of healing (even raising the dead), and yet he delays! How could Jesus be so callous?
By the time Jesus arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has died and been in the tomb for four days. Jesus walks into a setting of pain, tears, and grief. According to Jewish thinking, the soul of the deceased hung around the body for three days. And yet, Jesus purposely waited until the 4th day to show up.
To those who grieved, the situation was utterly hopeless by the time Jesus showed up. And as we know, Jesus specializes in bringing light to hopelessly dark situations.
Consider the silence of God. Joseph is thrown into prison in Egypt, and many would conclude that God had forgotten him. Moses spends 40 years on the backside of the desert while the Israelites suffer under the hands of the Egyptians. Where was God when his people needed him the most?
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May 18, 2021