Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Death Part II

(the painting is by Caravaggio in1608 and is titled The Raising of Lazarus)

I’ve heard two perspectives on the John 11 passage preached from the pulpit. I will paraphrase each.

Perspective 1:

Jesus was busy and got word that His good friend was very sick. Jesus knew that it was serious . . . even terminal. But Jesus had work to do where He was, plus it was dangerous going back to Judea so He waited a few days.

As Jesus and His disciples approached Bethany, word came that His friend was dead and He was too late. Jesus said, “No problem. I can raise him even from the dead.”

He arrived at the tomb and His friend's sister was irritated that Jesus was too late.

Jesus shook His head and thought, these pathetic humans. They don’t have the faith to believe what I can really do. Then He cried over His frustration and grief about the silly humans’ failures.

Perspective 2:

Jesus heard that His friend, whom He loved dearly, was seriously sick. Jesus hated the effects of the Fall on the people He loved, especially sickness and death. It was one more battle Jesus wanted to fight.

But he was busy where He was and He knew that He would have to fight back the darkness in Bethany and redeem His friend from the grave.

When He approached Bethany, people came to Him to tell Him that His friend was already dead and had been dead for several days. Jesus felt grief because He understood the pain that death brings these people whom He loved.

He approached the tomb and the humanness of Jesus was overwhelmed with the grief of death and all the suffering, which death (authored by the prince of darkness) has brought to the world. Jesus began sobbing.

In my opinion, it is this second perspective, which is most correct. Jesus hates the Fall and its consequences. He hates death. He doesn’t intentionally use death as an instrument to bring good . . . such as to teach someone something.

This brings me to my last point . . . another slippery path up in the high places. This is where the one in anguish, reaches the conclusion that God was never there in the first place. How many people have walked away form God when their child dies or their spouse or a friend?

In my next, and final, post on this topic I want to describe why death, and its aftermath, is one of my most convincing evidences that God really is there.

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