It’s not over until Jesus says it’s over; a funeral with a difference!
Someone once stated that the only certainties of life are death and taxes. And yet death is a subject that we really don’t feel comfortable talking about. Perhaps this should be no surprise as the cold hard reality of death frightens us. In the face of death all laugher and merriment dries up. In the light of death all the philosophies and man-made religions of the world fall silent. Before the darkness of death we close our eyes and wish it away....But it will not go away as we know that our date with destiny, our appointment with the great unknown will suffer no delays.
In John’s Gospel, chapter 11 Jesus sets out for a village called Bethany as a friend is gravely ill. By the time he gets there Lazarus is dead. Sorry Jesus, but you are too late- it’s too little too late- game over and Lazarus, flat on his back and six feet under, has lost. But with Jesus it’s not over until Jesus says it’s over....
Jesus calls for the dead man’s sister. Martha comes but, understandable is distraught; ‘Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died!’ We instinctively feel the grieving woman’s pain and hurt. It is at this point that Jesus’ utters one of his most amazing statements; “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
This is one of those times that you either dismiss Jesus as a raving lunatic or fall down and worship him as the Living God! In his own words Jesus was poetically making two points.
1) ‘He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live’; every single person who believes in me will one day be resurrected from the dead
2) ‘And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die’; every single person who trusts in Jesus will spiritually go straight to Heaven to be with Jesus when they die before being physically raised from the dead.
Big talk? Jesus put his money where his mouth was and raised Lazarus from the dead!
A one-off lucky chance? Jesus raised himself from the dead on the 3rd day after his crucifixion! In doing so the Lord was making it emphatically clear that the resurrection of all his people, in like manner as his own, was a done deal. This is the rock solid assurance that every follower of Jesus has as they live in this world every day.
Do you want something with which to stand against the cold hard stare of death? Then trust in the death of Jesus as the all- sufficient sacrifice for your sins. Do you want to be able to look into an open grave without terror? Then trust in the fact of Christ’s resurrection, and find in it a life-giving remedy for all your fears.
Dedicated to 'Granny Jean' who is rejoicing in the presence of Jesus as you read these words.