John 11:17-27 (ESV)
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles[a] off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[b] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
I like today’s reading from the Gospel of John because it seems very real to me. Martha’s brother Lazarus has just died, and when Jesus arrives, Martha goes out to meet him. Filled with grief, she confronts Jesus and says, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” I think this is a feeling and a reaction that many of us can relate to.
“Where were you, God??”
“If you had been here, none of this would have happened!!”
“If you had just intervened, they would still be alive!!”
“Help us God!! How can you let so much hate exist in our world??”
I’m sure that many of us have cried these things out to God, or have wanted to. How can an all-powerful God allow terrible and painful things to happen? But in the midst of our struggling, in the midst of our pain, in the midst of our confusion, in the midst of our grief, God reaches out and comforts us. He pulls us into his arms and reminds us that he has always been there. He reminds us that he sees the big picture, that he can see the beginning, the middle, and the end of our race, all at the same time. He tells us, just as he said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
Dear Lord, sometimes I feel like crying out to you in anger, wishing you to be someone or something you are not. Focus my eyes on the cross and remind me that you are the God who is with us in the midst of our suffering and not simply in the absence of it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Christie Lazarides Director of Contemporary Worship