There are only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. In these texts, we see death and how different people react to it. In 1 Samuel, we see Eli react to the death of his sons by literally dying. His grief overcame him to such a strong degree that he fell off his chair and broke his neck.
When we see Jesus, he reacts in a much different way. He grieves and weeps in the easiest verse to memorize, which shows us the extent of his humanity. He is quite emotional at the loss of his friend. However, he changes his tune completely over the next few verses and showcases the power of God. In what is probably the most powerful miracle, aside from his own resurrection, we see Jesus bring Lazarus back from the dead. He shows that in every circumstance that life throws at us, we can see God’s power and sovereignty. This varies hugely from what we see from Eli, who is thrown into fatal grief.
Jesus has promised that those who follow him will have eternal life, so when it comes to death, Christians have hope. We have the hope of one day seeing our loved ones again, the hope that there is no more suffering in this life, and the hope that we will live for eternity in glory. I have always found Christian funerals quite polarizing for these reasons. On the one hand, we are saddened by the loss of our loved ones, but on the other hand, we know we will see them again. Jesus went through these same emotions when he was at Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, the All-Powerful one, knows exactly what we are going through when we lose a loved one. It seems to make it a little more comforting to have a saviour like that. Let’s remember that we have hope for the future, but let’s not use that as an excuse to waste the present.
David Van De Walle
Student and youth leader, but mostly blessed man who found a way to get tomorrow's writer to marry him!