Death is a grim reality of life. No one is getting out of this thing alive. One out of one die, it is the great levelling statistic of the human existence. In John 11, Jesus hears of the death of his friend Lazarus. When he arrives at the town of Bethany, Lazarus had been dead four days, and it is here that we find the bibles shortest verse: “Jesus wept”. He was not above or uninterested in the grief of the family in mourning. To the contrary, he joined them in their grief. And yet Jesus had a plan. Watch this conversation between Jesus and the sister of Lazarus, Martha in John 11:23-27:
“ Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Martha’s response is one of faith – she believes that Jesus is who he says he is! But Jesus was not just talking about the last day, he was talking about doing a miracle then and there on the spot. He went to the tomb and called out: “Lazarus, come out!” (11:43), and called his dead friend to life. It was a great miracle! Lazarus was raised to life again! Take a moment to think about the life of Lazarus after that day. What do you think you could ever have said to him after that day to scare him? What could you have said to leave him anxious and concerned? What could ever unnerve him? He had received life directly from Jesus hand, what could shake him? And yet Lazarus is no longer walking the earth. He would still one day die. And yet he could face next death with one firm and certain truth in his bones: Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Charles Spurgeon said that “we believe that every death-bed is a resurrection; that from every grave the stone is rolled away.” Because Jesus came, we get to face the grave with that same kind of confidence of Lazarus. He has conquered death! He is the resurrection and the life.