As with any holiday, death or the loss of a special person, brings about many emotions, the absence of their presence seems magnified. As we approach the one-year anniversary of losing our loved, God-sent stepfather, the reality of death at Easter is front and center. The week following brings about the anniversary of our father’s death as well. Death. Yes, it stings.
But today, God has sweetly and gently reminded me of the bigger picture, the one He holds. The greatest fear and anguish one can go through is death. This is exactly why Jesus chose this way to claim us – to save us. He came and died for us, overcoming our greatest fear. What we fail to recognize is that death was not HIS greatest fear. Jesus knew death would be overcome. This was not too big for him. His greatest fear was – is -that we will not choose him.
When Jesus was on the cross, He didn’t say, “God I am scared to die”. He was concerned with the souls of the men on the cross beside him, the souls of the men rejecting him while crucifying him, and the souls of the world. Our eternity was going to be secured by Jesus death and resurrection, but only if we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. I wonder if the fear, the anguish that we saw in the garden of Gethsemane was because of the rejection he knew was possible and inevitable for some.
One of the most quoted scriptures, – mainly because it’s so short and easy to remember in our short-term memory world– is “Jesus wept” John 11:35. I never understood why “Jesus wept” for his friend, whom he knew was going to be raised back to life. How can He “weep” and relate to death when he knows the ending? The reunion would be around the corner and fear and anguish would be restored,
Or maybe that was the real lesson.
For those that know Him and have a close relationship with him like Lazarus did, the reunion is around the corner; our fear and anguish of today will be restored as he tells us in Joel 2:25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust.
So the question still remains, why did Jesus weep? I heard an idea this week that he wept, because those that were closest to him in this situation did not believe in Him. They chastised him for coming so late, as if he was confined to a time period to perform a miracle. The told him they believed; yet they questioned. These were people he loved and were very close to, if they didn’t get it, would anyone? Jesus wept. This was not a momentary, earthly loss, but one their eternity hung on. They needed to get it; Jesus needed them to believe in Him.
We often ask, “Why?” and if we are really honest, we really want details that we can refute or agree with. But Jesus told his disciples “plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. John 11:14-15
This is the answer –so that you may believe.
However, we often reply as Martha did, “But, Lord,” and 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
3 When Jesus saw her (Martha) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” Why? Again, Jesus’s concern was their – our – eternity, which depends on our belief in Him. Everything else He could overcome and did. Do you believe…
He is, who He says He is and
He will do, what He says He will do?
If you are grieving any kind of loss, turn your focus to the real purpose, the true answer to the question “why” – so that you may believe. Jesus has overcome our greatest fear – and he will overcome yours. So, grieve your situation, but not as those who have no hope. He is trustworthy. May this Easter be a new start, a fresh urgency to check your belief and to share hope with those who don’t.