Wednesday’s Word: Grace for the Grieving

Read John 11:1-37Open Link in New Window

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4 ESVOpen Link in New Window

Death is not something that is on anyone’s schedule.  We don’t plan for death, and many people dread even the thought of it.  When I was on a mission trip a few weeks ago in Ecuador, we encountered death.  A woman in the church we were partnering with had passed away.  She was the choir director in the church, but she left behind a family who for the most part did not know the hope that she had found in facing death because of Jesus.

As I sat through the activities of her funeral, I was reflecting on death and the gospel.  The more and more I thought, I realized that the only religion that can speak hope in the face of death is Christianity.  Jesus is the only one in all of human history that has taken the stinger out of death.  As I pondered these things, I did not know that the pastor would ask me to proclaim the hope of the gospel at the woman’s funeral.

When we look at John 11Open Link in New Window, we see Jesus at his friend’s funeral.  He is at that time that no one would put on their schedule, yet in the midst of this difficult time, He gives hope to the family, which is the same hope that we can cling to when we grieve the loss of people in our own lives.

The first truth comes from verse 25 when Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life.”  We can have hope in the midst of death because of the gospel.  Jesus came and lived a perfect life and died on the cross for our sins.  Three days later, He rose again from the dead – proving that He was God and that His sacrifice for our redemption worked.  Jesus’ death means that when we stand before God, we do not come with any righteousness or goodness of our own.  We can stand before God as perfect because of Jesus who lived a perfect life in our place paving the way for our eternal redemption.  We can have hope that after death we can enter into eternal life with Jesus rather than eternal separation from Him.  The gospel removes the fear of what life will be like after death.

Though we know that a person can have hope because of the gospel, that does not mean that death is not painful for those left behind.  In verse 35, we see the second truth – Jesus weeps with those who weep.  Jesus is not clueless to the pain of those left behind – He weeps for people who are experiencing loss.  He knows that loss is painful and wants to be the Comforter to those left behind.  As we mourn, we can have hope that God is in control and that He weeps with the broken.

Christianity is the only religion that offers hope to the grieving and that can bring life from death.  We live in the “in between” still experiencing the pains of this world while looking hopefully through the eyes of faith to a world where death, pain, suffering, and grief will be no more because Jesus will “make all things new” (Revelation 21Open Link in New Window:5a ESV)

Daily Prayer

Lord Jesus, Help me to grieve with hope because You are the One who has conquered death.  I pray that You would wrap me in your loving arms and hold me in the midst of my pain.  Help me to know that the same hands that hold the universe in place are holding me during this difficult time.  Amen.

Thought for the Day

Hope in the face of death is only found in a Savior who conquered the power of death.

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