Lenten Devotional, Feb 21 - by Marnie Dahle Backer

“I AM the Resurrection and the Life” – John 11:25


When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. John 11:17-25

This piece of scripture brings with it the ultimate promise in two forms. Number one, when we die – when our bodies are done with this world, we can rest assured in the promise that the next word we will hear are: “Rise up!” It can be very scary to think about our own deaths. It’s not something I really like pondering. My hope, like probably many of your’s looks like this: I’ll be sitting on my porch swing watching all my grandchildren play in the yard, and I’ll close my eyes and peacefully die. Well… that probably doesn’t get to be the case for most of us. However, the one thing we do all get to share is hearing Jesus say to us “Rise up!” Awesome.

This scripture also brings with it a peace for those of us remaining on earth when someone we care about dies. Martha is devastated – “Lord, if you had been here…” Sometimes that’s as far as we can get in our grief when someone dies. Then Jesus tells Martha “those who believe in me, even though they die, WILL LIVE, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” It can be pretty difficult to imagine this while we remain on earth without these loved ones. But if we trust in Jesus, trust in his promise, then we can live with a sense of peace, of knowing – they WILL LIVE, you WILL LIVE.