No Other Name Week 7: Raising the Dead
Pastor Dan’s sermon, “Raising the Dead” is available to watch or listen to right here.
In Pastor Dan’s sermon, we looked at the passage where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in John 11. This week, what struck me the most was Pastor Dan pointing out that when Jesus saw Mary and the Jews weeping over the death of Lazarus, He was troubled — He was angry. Jesus was angry because death is not the way it’s supposed to be. Death is not part of God’s good creation. Death has entered through sin, and the pain of it is not what was meant for us when God looked around at all He had done and said that it was good.
This struck me for a few personal reasons. Last week I mentioned Kara Tippetts, a young mom of four who has been blogging and writing about her battle with cancer. The grace and faith she showed through this process has been unbelievable. On Sunday, March 22, the day we talked about Lazarus at church, Kara went home to be with the Lord. I cried as I read this news — thinking of her husband and children and friends who will miss her. I cried as I wondered at the beautiful way she handled her suffering. And I cried because death is not what God wanted for us.
About a year and a half ago, my brother’s wife passed away from leukemia. I was reflecting on this last summer when we had so many funerals here at CrossRoads. I wrote a blog post about it then, and I want to re-post part of it here for you, because it seems relevant to our sermon this week.
So, here’s part of that post. The truth is that God will redeem what has been broken. There will be an end to death. It does not get to win — Christ has already defeated death. He is victorious!
Revelation 22 is the final words of the story God has been telling since Genesis — since the beginning. In Eden, Adam and Eve lived in the garden God had personally planted for them. God lived with them, walked with them, talked with them. It was beautiful and perfect and whole.
The earth is not quite as it should be. It floods and burns and wails with storms. It groans for restoration.
People sin against God and against each other. Our relationship with God is often faltering and fragmented — we separate ourselves from Him by our choices, by refusing to repent.
Things are not as they should be. People struggle with pain and suffering. Many are burdened with the consequences of their choices, or with the reality of a struggle that has come to them through no fault of their own.
We host funerals at CrossRoads and people come through our doors, grieving losses. They are in pain and burdened with sadness. Things are broken. This is not the way it was supposed to be.
But through it all, God’s story has continued. He has worked to restore our relationship with Him. He chose a family to begin the process. They were to represent Him and His ways. They failed.
He chose a king who would seek after Him and lead a great nation. He failed too.
But then came the One who would not fail. Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead was what could finally reconcile us. In order to begin to lift the curse, He became one for us. It was the victory that no one else could achieve.
The journey has begun — He is the road back to Eden. He is the road that leads to life and away from death.
We are not there yet. There are still mountains to climb, rivers to wade through, deep crevices in the road. People still struggle. We often choose sin instead of repentance. We still have funerals. It is not necessarily easier.
But the road home is there. The restoration has begun. The invitation has been sent.
And Revelation tells us that one day, all will be restored. “No longer will there be any curse.” God will again live among His people and the struggle will be gone. Death has been swallowed up in the victory of Jesus. Death does not get to win.
There is no way for me to rephrase what has been said so beautifully in God’s word:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:3-5
One day — one day – all will be restored. Believers in Jesus will go back to Eden. There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more funerals to host.
All will be as it should be.