The internationally renowned 19th century American evangelist, D.L. Moody, often spoke to audiences of around ten to twenty thousand people. At least 100 million people have heard of God’s plan of salvation through Moody, whether by his spoken or written words.
One day when he was a young man, Moody had to preach at a funeral, with little warning. He decided to scour all through the four Gospels to find sermons Jesus preached at a funeral. There were none! Instead, he found Jesus breaking up every funeral he ever attended by raising the deceased from the dead!
The death of Lazarus, whom Jesus loved (verse 2), was no exception. He had been dead for four days when Jesus showed up. The sense of pain and sorrow was palpable. The stench of death literally hung in the air (verse 39). We can resonate with this. At the time of writing, there are over 1.3 million coronavirus cases worldwide. The death toll stands at 74,768, while 284, 882 have recovered although the actual figures are probably higher than official figures suggest. People are either grieving or anxious over their loved ones. Others are in pain and fear over their financial future.
Jesus was so moved by what he witnessed, he wept (verse 35). But Jesus felt more. He was in rage at the sight of Mary and others bitterly weeping (vs 33) because someone they loved deeply had been taken from them. When he finally arrived at the tomb of Lazarus (vs 38), Jesus was still angry! His wrath was aimed at sin, sickness, suffering and death, fear, sorrow and behind them, he who has the power of death and whom Jesus came into the world to destroy, the devil (1 John 3:8).
He started to issue rapid-fire commands, the most momentous of all, “Lazarus, come out!” Death will not have the last word for our Lord and Saviour has promised, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die”!
As Sweetman wrote, “Death would come, but resurrection would follow. This remains the narrative of Christian faith. Life always follows death…Death never wins. It’s just a pathway to new life. And this is our story now. Faced with COVID-10, and all its deathly ramifications, we hold to God’s consistent narrative…This doesn’t mean that we don’t’ feel the pain, but it does mean that we have hope. Jesus is alive and at work”. Indeed, Jesus is the resurrection but he is also the life in the here and now. May his life continue to take hold of us and flow through us to those who are in need of God’s touch!