33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. 35 Jesus wept. – John 11:33-35
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week, as a nation, we were faced with the tragic news that over 100,000 people have now died from Covid-19. I don’t know how this made you feel. For some of us there will have been a mixture of emotions: sadness, frustration, anger, confusion. For me, the overriding emotion was one of sadness; sadness that so many people have lost their lives, sadness for all those who have lost loved ones. In the midst of my lamenting, I was reminded of Jesus’ reaction to death. When confronted with the loss of his dear friend Lazarus and the sight of Lazarus’ sister weeping, John tells us that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and that he “wept.” This tells us that, when confronted with death and loss, Jesus is moved to the very core of his being. He is sick to the pit of his stomach at the loss of Lazarus’ life. This truth should bring us great comfort that it’s alright to feel sad when faced with loss. It’s okay to cry over death. These feelings are perfectly natural and normal, and in the eyes of God, death is not.
This truth should also comfort us that, in Jesus, God knows what it’s like to experience loss and death. He is not distant or disinterested in how we feel, but he knows first-hand what is like to lose someone and the sadness that death brings. This beautiful truth means we have a God of empathy who walks alongside us in our struggles and pain. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
This truth should also give us great hope in the midst of death. God the Father and God the Son are so grieved by it that they are prepared to do something to end it. We see this in John 11 as Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. We also see this in the truth that God the Father was willing to send his one and only Son, and Jesus was willing to come into this world to defeat death for us. Jesus did this when he died the death that we deserve on the cross; rising again to new life. His resurrection means that death no longer has a hold over the Christian. Even though we will one day die, death will not be the end for us because we will share in Christ’s resurrected life and be renewed. What an amazing hope!
In these sad days of death may we find comfort in Jesus and hope in his resurrection, and may we seek to share the good news of Jesus to a lost and dying world.
Yours in Christ