Join us over the next week as we look at encounters Jesus has with people living in their Hot Mess to help clear up yours...
A Hot Mess
Day 6: The Hot Mess of Death
John 11: 17-23
“When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Death is a stinky business. There is no doubt about it. Ask anyone who is in the profession. Our human bodies aren’t plastic. We are living and breathing beings that have cells multiplying, blood pumping and lungs breathing every single second we are on this planet. So when our heart and lungs stop, we start the process of decay. I love that this is detailed on several occasions in God’s word. Martha, in this particular story in the book of John, warns the son of God regarding the outcome of this process…
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” John 11:39 NLT
The situation was a hot mess for all those involved. Lazarus is sick. Jesus is told to come. Lazarus dies. Jesus finally gets there late. Laruzarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, are in mourning and anxious to have Jesus be with them as they grieve. I mean, this scene unfolds like a dramatic movie that appears to have a very sad ending. Death is no fun. It has layers of emotions that pile on top of the fact that someone is not around anymore. Jesus arrives and weeps like everyone else. He feels the pain. He embraces the heartache. The word of God even records his tears…
“Then Jesus wept.” John 11:25 NLT
Our God, with flesh on, weeping at a funeral. We forget all too often that He understands our pain. He is with us in the midst of the chaos. He hurts with us in the struggle. And, then, he re-writes the movie ending. Lazarus is brought back from the dead. The foggy pictures of death become clear and Lazarus gets a few more years to be on this earth again.
I know, a “Disney- like" ending that most often doesn’t happen. We wish it could, but we are left with the hot mess of death and all that comes with it. Even so, we are not left alone. God doesn’t abandon us. In fact, he stays with us. If we allow it, he can bring clarity for us in the midst of what has died. Maybe it was a relationship. A job. A marriage. A dream. And, if we will allow Him, he will use that painful experience to mature us, grow us and speak life to us. We know this because He overcame death himself. There isn’t an issue, fight or battle you can’t WIN with the power of Christ living inside of you. Temporarily it may feel like death has won, but even REAL DEATH is overcome with eternal life through a relationship with Christ.
So, hold tight Martha. Hang on Mary. Don’t let the stench of death destroy you. It’s just a sign that amidst the mess of decay something is about ready to come back to life. And, that something is…you.
Take a moment to pray through what messy situation in your life has got you weeping. Allow yourself to see the love of Christ all around you. Remind yourself that He, our God, is with you. And, you will find the joy of life again.
Read the entire account of Lazarus in John chapter 11 verses 1 - 45 and be encouraged.