Last Friday, I arrived in Barangay Bahile, Puerto Princesa for a pastoral visit and it so happened that one of the pioneers in the area died due to sickness. She was already about 85 years old. Since she was the mother of one of our church members, I and our local church pastor in the area went to visit the bereaved family in their nipa hut home in the evening.
I’ve been to so many funerals in my lifetime and I have conducted funeral services numerous times and during these times, I have seen people who seem lost and groping for answers in the midst of their sorrow and grief over the death of a loved one. And it is during these times that it’s always good to be reminded that there is hope after death.
At the wake, I shared to them the wonderful good news that Jesus has given to us. I related to them the story of Lazarus who was a very close friend of Jesus who died (John 11). Although Jesus was only about 2 kilometers away (more or less), he intentionally delayed visiting Lazarus for some four days and it bothered Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus. Martha said, “Lord if only you had arrived earlier, Lazarus would still be alive.”
It truly grieves us when someone close to us dies. We want to search for meaning in life and why there is death. We want to understand what’s going on. To make a long story short, Jesus brought back to life his dear friend Lazarus. And there is a reason and a lesson why Jesus delayed his coming to visit Lazarus.
Jesus wants all of us to learn that even though we die, there is hope, we have hope and we should hope in Jesus. We can and should rest in Jesus. No worries. Everything is under his control even though we may not fully understand what’s going on in our life — or death.
“Jesus said to her (Martha), ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'” (John 11:25-26 )
Did you notice what Jesus said? He IS the Resurrection and the Life Himself! Let’s put our trust in him. Believe in him and believe him. No need to worry. We can rest in Jesus. Death has been defeated. We have victory in Jesus. We may die a temporal death but we will never die but live forever in Jesus. Believe it and enjoy life and love in him now and forever more.