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40 Days of Hope
Saturday, April 13
Interrupting a Funeral
Praise God for the Apostle John. I am so glad he decided to write his Gospel. Think of all the insights and stories in John’s Gospel that are not contained in the Synoptic Gospels. The miracle at Cana, the washing of the Disciple’s feet, the woman at the well, the prayer of Jesus in John 17 --- all of these are unique to his Gospel.
The story of raising Lazarus from the dead is also only found in John. What an amazing story. I am sure you are familiar with this story. This is the text from Sunday’s sermon. Lazarus had fallen ill. His sisters sent word to Jesus to let Him know of their brother’s condition (John 11:3). Jesus did not immediately respond to the news. He remained where he was for two more days.
He mentioned to the disciples that Lazarus had died and let them know of his intent to travel to Bethany. The disciples were somewhat fearful to return to Judea because Jesus had been threatened there before. Thomas spoke into the fear of his friends and challenged them to go to Judea to die with Jesus (this doesn’t fit into our normal view of Thomas! John 11:16).
Upon their arrival, they all receive the news that Lazarus has indeed died. Martha runs out to meet Jesus. She fully believed Jesus could have healed her brother. But Jesus will challenge her faith with His amazing revelation about the nature of the resurrection power of the Gospel embodied in and through Him.
Jesus interrupted Lazarus’ funeral, to say the least.
In fact, ever since Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He has interrupted the funeral of every one of His followers. Not because he has raised all of them from the dead --- yet. But He has reframed death for all of His followers. We all now die in the light of the resurrection of Jesus and in the hope of our future resurrection from the dead!
My mentor, Dr. Ralph Langley (former Pastor Emeritus of FBC Huntsville, AL) always said at every graveside service, “Christians don’t bury. We plant!” In other words, we know that death has lost its sting, and the grave has been defeated.
It is almost Easter. We are about to begin the week called Holy. Take some time today to prepare your heart for this final week. Reflect today on the miracle of the resurrection.