Summary: Everyone will one day face grief because of the loss of a loved one or some other tragedy of life. Jesus holds the answer to our survival in these times.
Jesus meets our deepest needs
Everyone will one day face grief because of the loss of a loved one or some other
tragedy of life. This knowledge in Itself does not offer us condolences or comfort.
However, there are many comforts we can receive from scripture and the life of Jesus
Christ. One such incident in the life of Christ is found in John 11. Here the death of
Lazarus gives us insight into death, grief, purpose, and hope as Christians.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
As you know, Lazarus was a very good friend of Jesus, as were his sisters, Mary and Martha. When Jesus received word of Lazarus’ illness, he chose not to immediately go to Lazarus. Why do you suppose that was? The Bible indicates several reasons. 1) Jesus knew the final outcome. 2) Jesus knew that God would be glorified by what would transpire. 3) Jesus wanted to build the faith of Mary and Martha. 4) He wanted to build the faith of the other disciples (Vs 15).
I. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life
When Martha met Jesus her faith in him was evident as she said, “Lord,” if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Jn 11:22)
A.Martha had a child-like faith
This reveals her faith but it was limited, not able to comprehend the resurrection of Lazarus at that time. Jesus then assures her that her brother would rise again. Martha misunderstood Jesus assurance, believing that Jesus was speaking of the general resurrection of the saints. Jesus, though, was referring to the immediate resurrection of Lazarus.
B.We also must have a child-like faith.
1.He and he alone possesses the power of life and death.
2.If you believe in Him (have a faith relationship) even if you die you will
A Muslim in Africa became a Christian and some of his friends asked him why?
He answered: Well, it is like this: suppose you were going down a road and suddenly the road forked in two directions. And you didn’t know which way to go.
If you met two men at the fork — one dead and one alive — which one would you ask to show you the way?”
3.Thirdly, everyone who lives and believes in him will never really die.
How is this?
Death is a grief producing event or process but it can serve to remind us, who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior that we do not really lose a loved one who passes away. We are only separated for a time while we remain in these temporal bodies. We will one day be together again before the Lord.
“In one of his lighter moments, Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph.. The Body of B. Franklin, Printer Like the Cover of an old Book Its contents torn out, And stripped of its Lettering and Gilding, lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believes, appear once more in a new & more perfect Edition”
Benjamin Franklin believed in the resurrection.
II.It is not wrong for us, who know Christ to weep, mourn and grieve.
A.Jesus himself wept and was deeply moved by Mary’s pain.
B.Jesus felt the pain of loss and wept. (John 11: 33)
C.Those who looked on had two recorded responses.
1.They knew by Jesus’ grief that he loved Lazarus (“See how he loved him!” Vs 36).
2.They questioned his motives for delay and his power by saying, “Could
not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from
dying~” (Jn 11:37)
III. Some Practical points in time of grief
A. Your strong faith will keep you.
Knowledge of where your loved one is can be a dry boat in the sea of storm
B. Take a period of time to rest and allow your soul a restoration.
When my friend Jerry lost his wife, he was in the middle of teaching Ephesians. His pastor stepped in to relieve him of that duty until Jerry was able to come back and resume his duties as teacher.
C. Lean on the family of God for support.
The earthly family can lend support but remember they too may be suffering the same loss.