The loss of life is profound. Even the expected passing of a loved one bears a sense of helplessness or confusion. In John chapter 11 Jesus experiences the death of a close friend, Lazarus. As Jesus approaches the home of his friend Lazarus He is met with the family’s understandable emotion and confusion. The questioning cries are unmistakable. “Jesus, if you had been here …” It’s as if to suggest if Jesus can make something happen that I believe is good, He should. We would never say that we have a better idea of how this life should play out, but, sometimes, that’s exactly how we feel.
Grace is profound. Martha and Mary both question Jesus’ timing. The “ifs” of his friends, in essence question the very nature of His character. Jesus does not respond in kind, He responds in grace. To Martha and Mary, Jesus gives the grace of the gospel from the truth of His divinity (v. 25-26) to the intimacy of His compassionate tears (v. 35-36).
The story could end there without jeopardizing the power, compassion or justice of Jesus. But, the ways of Jesus are more than we expect. Jesus wants us to know more. More of Him, more of His grace and more of the life He’s given. Jesus meets Martha with His perfect truth. He meets Mary with perfect compassion. Jesus meets Lazarus, His friend in the grave, with perfect outrage. Yes, outrage. John says Jesus was, “deeply moved” (v. 33) Truly He was moved, but not with fading sentimentality. Jesus met Lazarus with a ferocious grace, furious at evil and sin and the price that death demanded.
The gift of the grace of Jesus is met with a call to follow Him in His ways. His grace called Martha to walk in the belief she professed. His grace called Mary to trust in the hope that is the love of God. What about Lazarus? The call to Lazarus is surprisingly the call He gives to all His children, “Come out! Live!” (v. 43)
When we experience the grace of Jesus we cannot help but come out of our ways of death and follow His ways of life.
Thank you Jesus for meeting my pain with the comfort of salvation. Please help me believe. Please reveal Yourself to others that they may believe.