By Pastor Steve Greene
One day, Jesus was told that a close friend was sick and about to die.
Lazarus was his name. Lazarus had two sisters. They sent word to Jesus about their brother’s condition.
I am sure they were hoping Jesus would come, but he didn’t. You would think he would race over to his friend’s bedside since he was in such bad shape. You would think he would want to be there for these sisters.
But he stayed where he was for a few more days, and when he finally did show up, Lazarus had died. He was already in the tomb, and he had been there for a few days.
Mary and Martha both went to Jesus separately, and they both said the same thing. It is something most of us have said in some way or another. They said, “Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
In other words, “Jesus, why did you let this happen? In a way, this is your fault. You were too late. Why didn’t you show up when we called for you? You didn’t answer our prayers. You didn’t come through like we expected. Jesus, you’re making it difficult for us to believe.”
What Jesus says next is extraordinary. He didn’t explain life after death. He didn’t say, “There’s a resurrection coming. Let me tell you about it.” Jesus said to her, “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.” (John 11:25-26)
Be sure and notice that Jesus did not say, “The one who believes in…my ideas/parables/the things I teach…” He said, “The one who believes in me will live.”
In a way, that is the problem. Jesus kept talking about Jesus. He was the center of his own message. Jesus was so much at the center of his own teaching that when he died, there was nothing to pass on.
When Jesus died on the cross, his message could not help but die with him. And there is no evidence that any of his followers intended to try to keep his teaching alive after he was gone. As far as they were concerned, when Jesus died, it was game over.
If you had been a follower of Jesus, how would you have felt to see him die on the cross? Would you have had hope? Would you still believe? Think about it this week. We will pick up there next time.