When Love Shows Up and Shows Off In the Face of Death

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty five through forty four of the eleventh chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the narrative of Lazarus drawing to a close. Perhaps one of the most intriguing realities surrounding the story and account of Lazarus is how the nature of it is immensely personal—not only for the apostle John, but also to Jesus the Christ around whom the whole gospel is centered. If and as you read the words which are contained and found within this passage of scripture you will come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality of just how incredibly personal this encounter was to Jesus the Christ, for within the narrative itself you will find the apostle John emphasizing the love and the affection which Jesus THR Christ had for this man Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. The chapter opens with the apostle John writing how there was a certain man from Bethany named Lazarus who was sick, and how this man Lazarus had two sisters. The apostle John writes how the one sister was Martha whom you will recall was busy and cumbersome about with much laboring and toiling when Jesus was present within the house of her and her sister. Lazarus had another sister Mary—Mary you will recall chose to sit and abide and remain at the feet of Jesus when He was present in their house. What’s more, is that it was this Mary whom the apostle John wrote and emphasized something else concerning who this Mary was—namely that it was this Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus with the fragrant aroma, and wiped His feet with her tears. Within the very first verse of this passage we encounter the reality of a busy, cumbersome, and working woman named Martha, and we encounter the reality of Mary who not only anointed the feet of Jesus with the sweet perfume and wiped them with her hair, but it was also this same Mary who chose to sit at the feet of Jesus when Jesus was present within their home. This is actually quite intriguing when you take the time to think about it, for when we think about and consider this family we must not only come face to face with the fact that this family was a worshipping family as Mary was accustomed to being at the feet of Jesus, but this family was also a serving family. Please don’t miss the incredible truth and significance of this reality, for I would dare say that it has the ability to dramatically shape and help form the truth that is contained within this narrative. I do not believe it is any coincidence that the apostle John chose you include a parenthetical statement within the first verse emphasizing that this Mary was the Mary who had anointed the feet of Jesus with sweet perfume, and who wiped them with her hair. If we believe that the scripture was and is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit then we must naturally and logically come to the conclusion that the Orfe concerning Mary were important to the narrative of Lazarus.

As I stand here this morning I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that this family of three made up of Lazarus. Martha and Mary was not only a serving family and one that sought to attend to and minister unto the needs of Jesus, but it was also a worshipping family that desires to sit at the feet of Jesus. This family was one that had entertained the person and presence of Jesus within their home, and had not only sat at His feet, but also sought to minister and labor unto Him in order to meet His needs. Oh I can’t help but wonder what all went into the labor and work which Martha engaged herself in when her and Mary invited Jesus the Christ into the home. What’s more, is what I don’t find within the narrative or Mary and Martha inviting Jesus into their home. I am standing here this morning and I can’t help but be struck with and by something I have never seen and noticed before. If you read the narrative or Mary and Martha inviting Jesus into their home you will find that both Mary and Martha were present within the home, however, we don’t find any mention of Lazarus. We know from the gospel which the apostle John wrote that Lazarus was the brother of this same Mary and Martha, however, when Luke presents us with the narrative of Jesus being present within the home of these two women, there is no mention of Lazarus. In fact, we don’t even learn they have a brother until the eleventh chapter of the gospel of John. We have to essentially wait until the final gospel found within the gospel written by the apostle John to even encounter the reality that these two sisters had a brother named Lazarus. This is actually quite interesting when you read and consider the words which the apostle John wrote concerning Lazarus and his two sisters, for the apostle John emphatically wrote and declares that Jesus lives Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus. What’s more, is that when Lazarus became sick and his sisters grew concerned and worried because of his illness, they sent word to Jesus and appealed to His love for Lazarus. If you read the words found within this passage of scripture you will find that Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus and how when they sent word to Him, they chose to appeal to the reality and fact that Jesus did in fact love their brother Lazarus. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for it would have been one thing for Mary and Martha to send word unto Jesus that their brother was sick, but the reality of the matter is that they simply did not do so. What’s more, is they could have very easily simply mentioned that Lazarus was sick, and Jesus would have undoubtedly known whom they were speaking about. When appealing to Jesus these two sisters didn’t even mention Lazarus by name, but rather chose to refer to him as the one whom Jesus lived.

The narrative that is found within the gospel which the apostle John wrote is quite remarkable, for within it we find a certain man from Bethany named Lazarus being sick. What’s more, is that this man Lazarus had two sisters—one of which was Mary who had anointed the feet of Jesus with sweet perfume and had wiped them with her hair. In all reality this family was no stranger to the person and presence of Jesus the Christ, for they had Jesus the Christ in their very home. What I find to be so incredibly intriguing when considering the reality of Mary and Martha inviting Jesus into their home is that there is absolutely no mention of Lazarus and his being their brother. One cannot help but wonder where Lazarus was when Mary and Martha invited Jesus into their home in order that they might entertain and minister unto Him. We know that Martha was cumbersome about with much serving, and we know that Mary spent her time with much sitting—sitting st the feet of Jesus—however there is absolutely no mention of Lazarus at all within this narrative. It would be very easy to perhaps think something very specific concerning the absence of Lazarus on this particular occasion, however, we learn from the gospel written by the apostle John that Jesus not only lived Mary and Martha, but Jesus also loved their brother Lazarus. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on what is perhaps one of the greatest parts of the narrative of Lazarus becoming sick, and The sisters of Lazarus sending word to Jesus that the one whom He lived was sick. I have to admit that I absolutely love the reality that the apostle John wrote concerning this family that it was a family that Jesus loved. What’s more, is that the apostle John doesn’t just write that Jesus lives Mary, or that He loved Martha, or that He loved Lazarus, but that He In fact loved the entire family. The apostle John made it plain and perfectly clear that Jesus did in fact love this family of three—this family that was not only a worshipping family, but this family which was also a serving family. I am completely and totally convinced that in order to truly understand that which is found within this passage it is necessary that we turn and direct our attention back to the gospel which was written by the beloved physician Luke, for its within the gospel which Luke wrote that we encounter the awesome reality that it was this Martha and Mary who had invited Jesus into their home. It was this Mary and Martha who had in invited Jesus into their home, as Martha spent her time with Jesus in the house serving, and as Mary spent her time sitting at the feet of Jesus the Christ—perhaps listening to Him as He spoke words unto her, and even taught her there within their home. It’s quite unique and astonishing to think about and consider the fact that this same family which we found within the gospel of John was previously mentioned in the gospel which was written by Luke, and it was this family which we learn was one that not only served and labored in the presence of Jesus, but also one which sat still in the presence of Jesus. In fact, when you examine the words which are found within this passage of scripture you will find that when Martha went out to meet Jesus and declare unto Him that had He been there their brother would not have died, the apostle John writes how Mary sat still within the house.

In all reality, I would dare say that what we read and what we find in the gospel written by the beloved physician Luke is in all reality a wonderful glimpse into what we find written within the gospel of John concerning these two sisters. What’s mire, is that I would dare state and would dare declare that that that which we find in the gospel written by Luke presents us with a truly wonderful glimpse into the hearts and minds of these two women, and in all reality sets the stage for these women when their brother Lazarus was sick. When I read the account and narrative of Lazarus, his growing sick, his dying as a result of being sick, and even his eventual and ultimate resurrection, I can’t help but think about and consider the reactions and responses of his two sisters—Mary and Martha. In fact, I would dare say that the narrative of Lazarus growing sick and ultimately dying is not all about Lazarus himself, but is about his two sisters and the three of them as a family. It would have been very easy for the apostle John to write concerning Lazarus being sick, Lazarus being sick unto the point of death and ultimately dying, and even Jesus coming to the tomb and grave of Lazarus to raise him from the dead, however, the apostle John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote concerning all three of these family members—Mary, Martha and Lazarus. I am convinced that we cannot and must not read this particular narrative solely through the lens of Lazarus alone and not at all consider the presence of his two sisters Mary and Martha. I firmly believe that Mary and Martha play a critical and crucial role in the narrative and account of Lazarus, and their reactions and responses must be carefully considered and carefully understood. IN order to truly understand and catch a glimpse of the reactions and responses of Mary and Martha, we must not begin within the narrative of the two of them and their brother Lazarus, but we must turn our attention back to the New Testament gospel which was written by the beloved physician Luke. It is there within the gospel written by Luke that we find it written concerning Mary and Martha alone, and their invitation to Jesus to enter into and abide within their home. If you direct your attention to the tenth chapter of the gospel which was written by the beloved physician Luke you will find at the end of the chapter the account of Mary and Martha, and their invitation to Jesus to enter into their home. The narrative found within this gospel written by Luke begins with Jesus entering into a certain village—a village which we would later learn was Bethany—and how two women received Him into their home. It is this narrative of Mary and Martha receiving Jesus into their home that sets the stage and serves as a foundation for what we read and find within the eleventh chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John. Consider if you will the account of Mary and Martha receiving Jesus into their home beginning with the thirty-eighth verse of the tenth chapter of Luke’s gospel:

“Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cambered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-41).

When you come to the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find Jesus entering into a certain village, and within that village a certain woman named Martha receiving Him into her home. It would be while Jesus was in her home that Mary would also be present, and while Jesus was in the home Mary would choose to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word rather than engage with much serving as her sister Martha did. I am convinced that what we find within this passage of Scripture is in all reality a signpost and foundation for what we read and find in the eleventh chapter of the gospel of John, for the same mindset and attitudes we find within this passage of Scripture are put on full display when their brother Lazarus became sick. It must be understood that when we read the words which are found within the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John concerning Mary and Martha that when their brother became sick and grew sick unto the point of death, his two sisters responded to the situation in a similar manner, yet with some key differences. If you begin reading with the third verse of the eleventh chapter of this gospel you will find the apostle John writing and recording how when their brother Lazarus was sick, both Mary and Martha sent word unto Jesus saying unto Him that the one whom He loved was sick. What’s more is that if you move forward just two verses you will find the apostle John going on to write concerning Mary and Martha that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. As you continue reading within this passage and come to the seventeenth verse you will find that when Jesus arrived close to Bethany He had learned that Lazarus had been laid in the grave four days already. If you continue reading you will find it written that many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother, and as soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she arose, went and met him. What we read and what we find next is actually quite remarkable and quite astonishing, for what we read and find concerning Mary is that when Martha chose to rise from the house and go and meet Jesus, Mary chose to sit still in the house. I would dare say that there is something that must be carefully understood concerning Mary’s reaction and response on this particular occasion and at this particular time, for rather than Mary rising from the place where she was and running out to meet Jesus, she chose to sit still in the house. Scripture is unclear whether or not she sat still in the house and wept, or whether or not she sat still in the house somewhat numb to the reality that their brother was dead, or whether she simply sat still in the house in silence. Scripture isn’t clear as to what Mary did when she sat still in the house, as Martha rose from the midst of the house in order that she might rush to meet Jesus. I can’t help but find it incredibly interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that rather than immediately rising from her place within the house upon hearing that Jesus had drawn night unto Bethany, Mary chose to remain and abide within the house, and chose to sit still in the house. This same Mary who had previously chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word now sat still in the house.

I have to admit that I am curious as to the nature of Mary sitting still in the house upon hearing that Jesus drew nigh unto the village while her sister Martha hurriedly rushed out of the house to meet Jesus. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that when Martha rose from her place within house that she did so in order that she might meet Jesus and declare unto Him that had He been there their brother would not have died. In essence what we find concerning Martha is that as soon as she heard that Jesus had drawn nigh unto the village, she immediately rose from her place within the house and rushed to meet Jesus where He was. Once in the presence of Jesus she immediately declared unto Him that had He been there their brother would not have died. Martha—this same woman who asked Jesus if He even cared that Mary had left her to do all the serving alone—would enter into the presence of Jesus a second [recorded] time, and this time she would not complain about being left alone to serve, but would complain that Jesus did not show up on time, and had Jesus gown up on time their brother Lazarus would not have died. It is quite intriguing and curious to think about and consider that Martha—this same one who complained to Jesus that her sister had left her alone to serve, and asked Jesus to bid her sister to help her—would enter into the presence of Jesus and emphatically declare unto Him that had He been there while their brother Lazarus was sick, he would not have died. Upon hearing the words which Martha spoke unto Him, Jesus immediately declared that their brother would rise again—words to which Martha responded by declaring that she knew their brother would rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus would go on to declare unto Martha that He was indeed and was in fact the resurrection and the life, and that he which believes in Him, though they were dead, yet shall they live. What’s more, is that Jesus would go on to declare that whosoever believes in Him would never die, and would ask Martha if she believed. When Martha heard these words she responded to Jesus by declaring that she did believe, and that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. This is the last of the exchange which we read concerning Martha speaking with Jesus, for what we find next is after Martha had spoken these words, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying that the Master had come, and called for her. What we find within this passage is actually quite unique and quite astounding when you take the time to think about it, for Scripture reveals how Martha was quick to enter into the presence of Jesus to declare unto Him that had he been there their brother would not have died, while Mary chose to sit still in the house. What I am so incredibly curious about is what was going through the heart and mind of Mary as she sat still in the presence of Jesus. We do know without a doubt that she felt the same way as her sister Martha did, for when she had gone out to meet Jesus with her sister, she too declared unto Jesus that had He been there their brother would not have died.

Oh please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of what we read and find within this passage of Scripture, for it reveals something truly unique concerning the nature of the human heart—particularly and especially when it is faced with suffering, when it is faced with tragedy, and when it is faced with immense difficulty. When you read the words which are written and found within this passage of Scripture you will find it written that Martha hurried to rush into the presence of Jesus to voice her complaint that had He been there their brother Lazarus would not have died. What you will also find written within this passage is that while Martha was quick to rush into the presence of Jesus to voice her complaint regarding the absence of Jesus in their brother Lazarus’ time of need, Mary chose to sit still in the house. Rather than immediately rushing out of the house, and rushing into the presence of Jesus to complain unto Him about His absence during their time of great need, Mary chose to simply remain and abide within the house. Scripture is unclear whether or not in that moment Mary wanted to see Jesus, or whether or not Mary simply wanted to be alone. Scripture is unclear whether or not Mary simply sought to be alone, and didn’t want to leave the house. We do know from this text that many of the Jews—when they had heard about the death of their brother—came unto these two sisters to comfort them during this time of great loss. We have to assume that there might have been certain of the Jews which were in the house with Mary, or were at least in the area having come to comfort both her and her sister during their time of grief and mourning. The only thing we read and the only thing we find within this passage of Scripture is that rather than immediately rushing out of the house to enter into the presence of Jesus and complain to Him concerning His absence, Mary chose to remain and abide within the house. This same Mary who had chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word would chose once more to sit still in the house—this time, however, not to hear and listen to the words of Jesus, but perhaps to mourn and grieve over the loss of her brother. What we must learn from this passage is the contrast between an anxious and cumbersome heart filled with worry, doubt, fear and anxiety, and a calm and still heart. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this particular passage is a contrast of two hearts which were both impacted by the same event and the same circumstance. I have to admit that I absolutely love how there were two sisters within this passage, and how both sisters were impacted by the same event. It would have been one thing if Martha experienced her own heartache and her own hurt and pain, and Mary experienced her own heartache, hurt and pain. The truth of the matter is that both of these sisters were directly impacted by the death of their brother Lazarus, and were impacted by it at the same exact time.

Within the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John we encounter the tremendous reality that while both Mary and Martha both came face to face with death, and while they both came face to face with loss, they responded to that reality in two completely different manners. While both would ultimately say and declare the same thing in the presence of Jesus—namely, that had He been there their brother would not have died—Martha chose to immediately rush into the presence of Jesus and complain unto Him how essentially His absence had caused their brother to die. What is so incredibly profound about the words which both Mary and Martha declared unto Jesus is that their words seemed to suggest that while Jesus was not necessarily responsible for the death of their brother, He could have intervened in the midst of the situation but rather than being present was absent. Oh, what do you do when the presence of Jesus seems to be absent in the midst of something so incredibly personal, and something so incredibly difficult within your life? What do you do when the person and presence of Jesus seems to be absent in the midst of your hurt, in the midst of the suffering, and in the midst of the pain? How do you react and how do you respond when Jesus doesn’t appear to show up on time, or perhaps doesn’t appear to show up at all? In the hearts and minds of both Mary and Martha, I would dare say for them it wasn’t simply a matter of Jesus not showing up on time, but rather Jesus showing up at all. I could see it form the perspective of Jesus not showing up on time, and Jesus not showing up at all, but I would dare say that their struggle was with Jesus not showing up in the midst of a situation and circumstance He could have very easily prevented. The more I sit here and think about and consider the words which are written concerning this particular narrative of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, the more I can’t help but be drawn to and captivated by the thought of what we do when love doesn’t show up on time. I am finding myself coming face to face with how we react and how we respond when love doesn’t seem to show up when we expect it to, or perhaps even when we want it to or think it needs to show up. What we read and what we find within this particular passage is not only a matter of Jesus having the power and the ability to prevent something from happening, but also Jesus being absent and not showing up when He could have very easily entered and inserted Himself into the situation and intervened on behalf of their brother Lazarus. Both Mary and Martha declared unto Jesus that had He been there with them their brother would not have died. Essentially what they were declaring unto Jesus was that their brother didn’t have to die, and that had Jesus been present there in the midst of their brother’s sickness, He could have prevented him from dying. Instead of showing up and healing their brother of His sickness, Jesus remained distant and absent. Even more than this, we learn from this particular passage that when Jesus finally did show up, He closed up after Lazarus had already been in the grave four days.

WHEN LOVE SHOWS UP AS HOPE LIES BURIED FOR FOUR DAYS! WHEN LOVE SHOWS UP AS FAITH LIES BURIED FOR FOUR DAYS! WHEN LOVE SHOWS UP WHEN CONFIDENCE LIES BURIED FOR FOUR DAYS! What we find within this passage is Jesus showing up, however, Jesus showing up what was perceived to be four days too late. Within this passage we do in fact find love showing up, however, we find love showing up in death rather than in sickness and life. At least if love had shown up in the midst of sickness Lazarus would still have been alive and there would have been a chance of Jesus healing him. What is so absolutely and incredibly wonderful and powerful about this particular narrative is that Jesus wouldn’t seek to heal Lazarus of the sickness which had consumed his body, but rather to raise him from the dead. This is actually quite remarkable and quite astonishing to think about and consider, for there are countless times when we think and expect Jesus to show up in sickness, and yet it is not the will of the Father to show up in sickness, but to show up in death. How many times have we sought after, and how many times have we expected Jesus to show up in sickness, and yet instead of showing up in sickness, He chose to show up in death? How many times have we wanted Jesus to show up in the midst of sickness and in the midst of life, and yet Jesus chooses not to show up in the midst of sickness, but choose to show up in the midst of death? I am firmly convinced that there is something to be said about a Jesus who shows up in the midst of death rather than showing up in the midst of sickness. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Isaiah wrote in the sixth chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name, for the prophet declared that in the year that king Uzziah died he saw the Lord high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. It was in the midst of death rather than life when the prophet Isaiah saw the eternal King high and lifted up and seated on the throne—a reality which we come face to face with in the narrative and account of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Perhaps Lazarus expected and even hoped that Jesus would have shown up when He was sick—only to find that Jesus never showed up. Think about this particular narrative from the perspective of Lazarus, for Lazarus might have expected Jesus to show up while he was sick in order that He might heal him, and yet not only did Jesus not show up, but Lazarus would ultimately die. I can’t help but wonder if Lazarus spent his final days, his final hours and his final moments growing disillusioned and discouraged concerning Jesus, for he thought surely Jesus would show up in the midst of the life of the one He loved. What was it like for Lazarus during those final moments and final hours leading up to his death? Did Lazarus grow discouraged and perhaps even frustrated and offended with Jesus because He didn’t show up in the midst of his sickness? We don’t at all know what went through the heart and mind of Lazarus during those final hours and those final moments, and everything we think about and consider is mere conjecture and speculation. There is absolutely no indication within scripture that Lazarus at all grew offended with Jesus, nor even that Lazarus grew disillusioned and discouraged in those final moments and hours prior to his death. In fact, after Lazarus was raised from the dead we find and read that he was among those reclining at the table with Jesus in the house, thus indicating the fact that even in the midst of sickness, and even leading up to his death he neither grew offended, nor grew disheartened with Jesus the Christ.

The narrative we find and read concerning Mary, Martha and Lazarus is one that is absolutely and incredibly unique when you truly take the time to think about and consider it—particularly when you consider it in light of the seeming absence of love. This particular narrative is a powerful example of the reality of love not showing up in sickness, and instead showing up in death. This particular narrative is a wonderful and powerful example of love not showing up when we expect it to and hope it would, but rather showing up when we perceive that there is absolutely nothing that can be done. Undoubtedly when Jesus finally did show up—both Mary and Martha believed within their hearts that there was absolutely nothing Jesus could have done in that moment, for their brother had already been lying in the grave for four days. WHEN LOVE SHOWS UP FOUR DAYS TOO LATE! WHEN LOVE SHOWS UP IN DEATH RATHER THAN LIFE! I have to admit that what we find and read within this passage is that there are times within our lives when the greatest manifestation of the power and might of love shows up in the midst of death rather than in the midst of life. It was true that Jesus could have very easily and very well have shown up while Lazarus was still alive and healed him of being sick, however, the truth of the matter is that instead of showing up while Lazarus was still alive and healing him of his sickness, Jesus chose to show up after He had been in the grave four days. I am thoroughly convinced that there are times when the greatest demonstration and manifestation of love is not seen and is not experienced in life, but in death. I would dare say that there are times when the greatest demonstration and manifestation of love is not seen, is not heard, and is not felt in life, but is felt in death. Consider the fact that this was even seen and was even true when you think about and consider that the greatest demonstration of love ever written and recorded within all of human history took place not in life but rather in death. It was in and through the death of Jesus the Christ that the greatest demonstration and manifestation of love would be seen, heard and felt—and would be felt throughout the years and centuries ever since. More often than not we expect love to show up in the midst of life, and yet there are times when love cannot and will not show up in life, but rather will show up in death. Jesus could have shown up in the midst of sickness, yet there can be no resurrection in the midst of sickness. Resurrection can only occur when death has first taken place, and when all hope and all confidence has been stripped away and removed. There is absolutely no mistaking the presence and reality of love with in this narrative, and there is no mistaking the seeming absence of love within the narrative of Lazarus and his two sisters. There is within this narrative a seeming absence of love, as love did not show up in the midst of sickness and even in the midst of life, but rather in the midst of death. Love could have very well and very easily shown up in life, yet love chose to show up in the midst of death when all hope was gone, and when it appeared that there was absolutely nothing that could be done.

The narrative of Mary, Martha and Lazarus not only points to and reveals the awesome reality of love, but also that even when love shows up in death, that in no way diminishes the power and presence of love. Even if love shows up in the midst of love, that in no way diminishes the reality of that love, nor does it in any way reveal that that love was any less real. It would be very easy to think about and consider the fact that love showing up after Lazarus had died somehow points to and reveals the fact that there was somehow a deficiency in that love. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply isn’t the case, for even if love chooses to show up in the midst of death, that love is no less real, and is no way less powerful than it was before. Just because Jesus chose to show up in death and after Lazarus had been in the grave for four days—that doesn’t mean that He in any way loved Lazarus less, or that His love for him had somehow diminished and grown cold. It is human nature and natural to think and consider that when Jesus shows up in death rather than life that Jesus somehow loves less, and that there is somehow something wrong with that love. I would dare say that there is nothing that could be further from the truth, for even if love shows up in death, love still shows up. What’s more, is that even if love shows up in death, love has the ability to turn back death, and even overcome death. Think about it—Jesus could have overcome the sickness within the physical body of Lazarus, however, rather than overcoming and healing the sickness within the body of Lazarus, Jesus chose to raise Lazarus from the dead with a physical body that was absent the sickness which had caused him to die in the first place. Oh we dare not, we cannot and must not miss the incredible importance of this particular reality, for to do so would be to misunderstand and misappropriate love within our lives. The truth of the matter is that even if love chooses to show up and manifest itself in death, love sometimes puts on its greatest display of power and might in death rather than life. What’s more, is that there is within this passage a truly remarkable lesson in expectation, as undoubtedly Mary and Martha expected Jesus to show up in life, and He instead chose to show up in the midst of death. Oh that we would read the words which are written and recorded within this passage and not only consider the seeming absence of love, but also the awesome and incredible reality that it is possible for love to show up in death, and even if it shows up in death, it has the ability to show off in death. WHEN LOVE SHOWS UP AND SHOWS OFF IN THE FACE OF DEATH! It would be very interesting to think about and consider the reality of love being absent in life and in sickness, and yet to do so would be to miss the awesome and incredible reality that when love showed up, it not only showed up, but it showed off directly in the face of death itself. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand the absolutely wonderful reality that it is possible for love to be absent and life, and to show up in death, however, even when love shows up in death, it has the ability to show off in the face of death and demonstrate the full might and power of the living God among us in our midst.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s