John 11:1-4 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
If you are not suffering today, you know someone who is. In this fallen and broken world, suffering comes for us daily until death comes for us on the last day. The Bible gives us seven clear insights into suffering and death:
- Death is the consequence of sin (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 5:12, 6:23; I Corinthians 15:56); therefore, if we had never sinned we would never taste of death.
- Death is our enemy (I Corinthians 15:26).
- Everyone will die (Job 30:23; Psalm 89:48; Ecclesiastes 7:2).
- Everyone will die only once (Hebrews 9:27).
- Upon death our body goes into the grave and our soul goes before God for judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23).
- One day both the righteous and the wicked will have their souls returned to their bodies and be raised from the dead (Acts 24:15).
- Upon resurrection the children of God will enter into eternal life, and the unbelieving will enter into eternal death (Daniel 12:2).
The four gospels record three occasions upon which Jesus raised someone from the dead (Luke 7:11, Mark 4:21-43, John 11). The last one is John’s eyewitness account of the raising of Lazarus from death. Lazarus had become sick and died, so the sisters sent word to Jesus who declared that both his sickness and death would be used for the purpose of glorifying God. In this we discover a great comfort that even our infirmities and death will be used by our resourceful God for His glory and subsequently our joy.
In the next few days we will study the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and see a glorious glimpse into the future of all who believe in Jesus and have been given eternal life by Him. As Martha said, we will all on the last day, like Lazarus, hear the voice of Jesus call us from our graves for our eternal life or death (John 5:25-29, 6:40; 2 Corinthians 4:14). And we who believe in Jesus our resurrection and life we will be raised from death like Jesus (Philippians 3:21; I Corinthians 15:21, 15:49) to see Him face to face (I Corinthians 13:12) and have his nail scarred hands (Zechariah 12:11) wipe every tear from our eyes (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17, 21:4) to never die again (Revelation 21:4), because Jesus has died and risen for our sins and given us life in Him (Romans 6:1-14).
In the story of Lazarus, suffering and then death came for him. But, Jesus also came for Lazarus, and once He shows up everything changes when life conquers death. This the THE HOPE of the believer. Even though we die and are buried, Jesus is coming and everything will change.
How does trusting in Jesus’ victory over death change how you approach death?