Carrying our Sorrow

And through our faith, the faith handed down from the apostles, we too have access to the resurrection and the life.  We are baptized in Christ, are we not?   Through our baptism, we are grafted into Jesus, into the new man, the new Adam (humankind).  We have died to the old man, shed the sin nature we inherited from the first man (Adam), and are raised (resurrected!) into newness of life through Jesus Christ.  We are now part of resurrected, glorified body walking here on earth, even as He is ascended to the right hand of the father in the heavens.  I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.  The question, as always, is do we believe?  Do we believe in Jesus as the resurrection and the life?   Do we believe Jesus, period?

The scene with Martha running out to Jesus finishes with Jesus and Martha and the disciples moving on to Bethany.  Lazarus had two sisters, we’ve already seen Martha bargaining through grief.  But then there’s Lazarus’s other sister, Mary.  When Jesus gets to Bethany, he finds Mary surrounded by her friends, kind of like a visitation in her home.  You know the scene, with the grieving person surrounded by friends, holding hands, exchanging stories, shedding tears.  This is how we work through grief when anyone dies.  Again, it’s good to have friends, good friends, friends who are following Jesus.

Jesus finds Mary and her friends, and they are weeping.  This is to be expected, it’s human, it’s what we do.  When Jesus encounters Mary, he doesn’t lecture her.  He doesn’t counsel her.  He doesn’t preach a sermon at her, doesn’t tell her Lazarus has gone to be in a “better place”.  The text doesn’t even record Jesus offering a prayer.  Instead, what is recorded is the shortest verse in the Bible, 

Jesus knew Lazarus would live again, but he cried anyway.  He knew Mary and Martha’s grief would come to an end, and he wept anyway.  He knew death would not have the final word, yet he entered into human grief and shed tears anyway.  Maybe what we see in this is that Jesus didn’t shy away from the shock of death.  He didn’t scoff at death.  He didn’t poke fun, or dismiss it.  Instead, he faced it and entered it.  Now we can say about the Jesus that we love and worship, that he knows what it feels like to lose someone you love to death.  So that when we are in the season of grieving when people die, Jesus draws near to us.   This is what we see when Jesus encounters Mary.  He doesn’t shy away from death, but he wraps himself around our grief as an echo of Isaiah when he said 

John Lewis

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