ODJ: a grim reminder

September 10, 2015 

READ: John 11:1-4,17-44 

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (v.25).

What are you reading?” a friend asked. “A fairy tale,” I replied. “Oh, I love fairy tales,” she said and leaned over to read the title of the story. “Ewww!” she said, “What a grim title.” I was reading “The Glass Coffin” in the book Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Apparently the word coffin turned her off.

While most of us don’t like to be reminded of our mortality, the fact remains that death is something people have had to face since sin entered the world. At a funeral Jesus acknowledged the reality of death by displaying some deeply felt emotions. After Mary’s brother Lazarus died, Jesus “saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, [and] a deep anger welled up within him” (John 11:33).

Jesus was angry (“troubled” in some translations), but at what? It could have been that He was indignant because of sin and its consequences. For God didn’t make a world filled with sickness, suffering and death. But sin entered the world and marred God’s beautiful creation.

Pastor Timothy Keller writes, “[Jesus] doesn’t say, ‘Look, just get used to it. Everybody dies. That’s the way of the world. Resign yourself.’ No, He doesn’t do that. Jesus is looking squarely at our greatest nightmare—the loss of life, the loss of loved ones and of love—and He’s incensed!”

He came alongside us in our grief, weeping with us in our sorrow (v.35). But more than that, He removed the sting of death by going to the cross and dying in our stead. But then He rose from the dead!

Jesus promises, “Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (v.25). Far greater than any fairy-tale ending, Jesus has conquered death and provided eternal life for those who believe in Him.

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day-plan: Matthew 25:31-46

Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and consider the victory over sin and death that Jesus Christ has won for us. 
What’s your usual response to death? How does Jesus’ response to it encourage you?