Death. Disease. Despondency. Everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike experiences, or eventually will experience, these things. One cannot live a day without hearing of mass violence around the globe due to ongoing wars, gang violence and natural disasters.
What is the common factor here? Humanity. Scripture tells us that sin entered the human race through the fall of one man, Adam, and that disease and death are the result. Everyone is by nature in sin. We desire to sin. This is evidenced from toddlers on up to adults.
We also know that sin leads to death, as we read in Romans, “For the wages of sin is death.” Death – separation from our body and separation from the God who created us.
The pain and sorrow of separation by death exists because death is NOT natural, contrary to what the world would have us believe. This is why we weep; this is why losing family and friends to death hurts so much for those left behind. As 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, “the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Death exists because we all have fallen short of the glory of God and deserve this just punishment, both bodily and spiritually.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh and perfect in holiness, wept over the death of His friend, Lazarus (John 11). Why did He weep? Certainly Jesus, as God, knew that Lazarus would be miraculously raised by His command. So we are left asking, “Why?” Jesus could have healed Lazarus before he died, yet He chose not to so that His power would be displayed. When He wept, He wept as we do over the loss of ones we love. Yet He also wept because of the problem of sin and of the unbelief of those around Him, knowing that many would see the miracle He was going to perform and yet persist in their unbelief. But with this time of weeping also came a time of joy, a time of hope. Because Lazarus died, Jesus could resurrect him. The same is true for us: We should weep over our sin, repent of it and turn to Christ to be forgiven and justified in the sight of our Holy and Righteous God.
When we do trust in Christ for our salvation, we can confidently ask the same questions Paul wrote: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”, and “…not grieve as others do who have no hope”, knowing that just as Jesus died and rose again, so too will those of us who have fallen asleep in our Lord.
We will all continue to weep this side of Heaven, but let us look forward with full expectation and hope to the New Heaven and the New Earth, where “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.”
Amen. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.
Elder Dan Seager