Something I love about God is how much he hates death.
“When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. ‘Where have you put him?’ he asked them.” 11:33-34
I’ve heard some (shame-based) suggestions over the years that the anger Jesus expressed is because his friends doubted him and his ability to save Lazarus. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Jesus was irritated by the lack of faith in people who should know better. But after poking around a few commentaries, and feeling more confident about how God relates to his people these days, I don’t see that. I see someone advocating for his mortal people, foreshadowing his plan to conquer death.
Jesus, emotionally moved, storms past his wailing people, brought to their knees by grief. “Roll the stone aside”, he orders. “Lazarus, come out!”
This is our God; He commands the dead to come alive.
About 10 years ago, after a good friend of mine died, I struggled to engage with certain worship songs. I was uncomfortable with the lyrics from “Mighty to Save”. Yes, I believed Jesus could move mountains, and yes, he conquered the grave. But why didn’t he keep my troubled, young friend alive past his 20th birthday? Could he? Yes. Did he? No.
I remember asking him this when the song played during a worship service I was in. Still raw from mourning, I was overwhelmed when God vividly answered me, I didn’t save Michael from taking his own life, I saved Michael from death by sending him Jesus. Even though he was riddled with hurt and addiction, Michael loved Jesus. God is mighty to save, and I am confident that ultimately, he rescued Michael from death.
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?’ “ 11:25
How has God overcome death in your life?
We all hate death. How can you, in a holy manner, defy it?