Focal Passage: John 11:1-44
Grief all too easily blinds us. Jesus in John 11:1-44
addresses those “blinded” by grief.
In this passage we see various expressions of grief.
Martha exhibits an intellectual grief.
This grief accepts
the inevitability and universality of death, yet shuns any overtly emotional
expression of it.
This is the grief espoused by our culture today. Mary
displays emotion, but she chooses to make Jesus its focus; her grief is real
and demonstrative, yet she determines with whom she will share it. Those Jews
who came to console and mourn with the family expressed an extroverted emotion;
an out-of-control, indiscriminate grief which often makes others feel
Let’s review the major events of this story. On learning of Lazarus’ sickness, Jesus
announces Lazarus’ illness will not bring death but glory to the Father and Son
He then states they are returning to Judea, which elicits
concern over His well-being by His disciples.
Jesus replies there is no stumbling when one “sees the light
of this world” — a clear reminder to His teaching that He is “the Light of the
world” (John 9:5).
After leading His disciples to the proverbial water, Thomas
in v. 16 thinks they are going with Him to die; demonstrating their lack of
understanding of His words in v. 8.
Our human tendency is to focus on the people in the story
rather than who Christ is.
Face it; all of us are “people.” We live with people, and
since we are people, we think like them. Grief is not evil or wrong.
Grief is the natural by-product of having someone’s presence
ripped from our lives. Besides the amazing consolation available to us through
a relationship with the Father through the Son, God also grants us the gift of
memory. And “memories,” someone once wrote, “are like fresh cut roses in
Jesus is not angered over expressed grief.
He is not weeping over the death of a friend.
He is angered
by grief powered by fear and devoid of hope.
He weeps because even though He is present, those with Him
still do not grasp His mission, His purpose. Fear, as He later teaches in John
14, is incompatible with the peace He brings.
Our protection against overwhelming grief is a deep, abiding
relationship with the One who is resurrection and life. We, unlike Christ’s
disciples, need to remember that we cannot stumble when walking “during the
day” (v. 9).
Let’s strive to put the “Light of the World” in the center
of our lives.
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