“So, then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’” (John 11:14-15)
Jesus had referenced Lazarus’ death as “sleep.” It was comforting for the moment but reality needed to be dealt with. It was not a matter of Lazarus just waking up from an illness but being raised from the “sleep” of death. Jesus, being all knowing, tells His disciples what He knows. “Lazarus is dead!” The disciple’s hearts fall at His words. The reality of death must be understood by the disciples in order for the act of Jesus raising Lazarus to be real. Jesus is dealing with the ultimate enemy of humankind, death. The disciples must come to know that Jesus is the answer to that enemy.
As we go through life, death takes on more meaning. We have family and friends die. Yes, they die. They are dead. It finally sinks in that one day that will happen to us. Yes, we will die. Then what? What is on the other side of death for us? If we have faith in Jesus, He will be on the other side. He will be there to welcome us to our Eternal Home with Him. This is what the disciples came to believe and what we believe by the gift of faith. This was Jesus’ mission, to prepare a place for us with Him for Eternity. Alleluia!
Heavenly Father, we can call it “sleep” or whatever. It is still the end for us, and Your gift of life to us, here on this earth. But with Jesus it is not the end of us, but the beginning of an Eternity with Him. Praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.