I’ve always hated going to funerals because, I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do. Would they be comforted with my “I’m sorry for your loss”? or, would they be better off if I didn’t even showed up?. What could I possibly say to someone’s suffering, when I myself, have never been in their place? What useful and sympathetic words could I possibly utter when I can barely imagine the pain they are going through?
It is hard seeing others suffer. It is way harder suffering for a loved one’s death. Maybe this is why Jesus wept and groaned after He saw His best friend Lazarus dead at the tomb (John 11:32-37)
Or maybe Jesus’ tears were for more than just a close friend’s death. After all, It is not that Lazarus’ death caught Jesus by surprise. Jesus is God in human body; He is omniscient. It is not that Jesus couldn’t do anything, cause He could -and He did (later He brought Lazarus back to life) . I don’t think that Jesus cried in disappointment on Martha and Mary for doubting His response, for He knew their hearts.
I think maybe Jesus wept because He was deeply saddened and heartbroken at seeing the suffering and pain that sin and death causes, has caused and will cause in people’s lives. It is plain sad and upsetting seeing good people facing bad stuff. Close friends’ lives destroyed by drugs, marriages fall apart due to sexual addition, and ultimately, sin brought physical death to our bodies, to our world (Romans 5:12). The wages of sin is death, and this death -in various forms, is always the result of sin; sin will always bring up the death of relationships, of jobs, of opportunities, of families and ultimately of the soul in eternity.
Fortunately, although death is hard to face, Paul gives us some words that can be both of consolation and exhortation. When referring to the pain that ‘others’; go through when facing a loved one’s death, Paul writes:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Yes we mourn for we wont share any more experiences together on earth, but we know we will see them again up in God’s presence. As it is true that Jesus rose, it is true that we will see them again.
For those of us who have not given our lives to God, sin produces death, but Jesus defeated death in the Cross. No matter how much one has sinned, Jesus has the power to bring freedom from and of sin.
For those who have trusted our lives to Christ, the death of believing loved one is hard, but we hope (hope defined as ‘knowing with certainty’), that as Jesus rose from the dead, one day all who believe in Him will rise as well and will be altogether and with Him forever.
I hope and pray that more and more people can know, understand, and get a hold of this hope.