When Lazarus died, both sisters told Jesus the same thing: “Lord, IF thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (Jn. 11:21, 32) But, Jesus was not there, and Lazarus did die. When we follow the narrative, we discover something of the sorrow, and sense of loss of all involved, especially the sisters. And yet, knowing fully what would transpire, Christ did not arrive until Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Why?
Jesus does nothing in a haphazard way. Our “what ifs” are His stepping-stones. If ever there would be a truth, a concept, that would be difficult to grasp, it would be that of the raising someone from being unquestioningly dead. The all-eclipsing truth here is that Christ IS the resurrection. The resurrection is an act, but Christ is the essence and realization of it. His is the power and the authority for its realization. How significant is this? As significant as death itself. We have here the Son of God facing down our last enemy, but not only confronting it, but overcoming it, by the surpassing greatness of His power and authority. How will we, as His sheep, grasp such a reality, and be enabled to embrace the hope and power that accompanies it? By SEEING the glory of God. Christ will let tragedy strike, and with it the consequent sorrow. But then comes the revelation of the all-encompassing reality…HE IS THE CONQUEROR OF DEATH. And with that knowledge, sorrow is replaced by joy, and weakness is replaced by power.
What is the repercussion of this revelation in the heart of the believer? I believe it is two-fold. First, it gives us greatness of hope, expectation, over an enemy before which we are helpless. In Christ, we are “safe and secure from all alarms.” But secondly, the revelation speaks to us of Christ’s power to raise from the dead. This power is not just a power which is revealed at the point when we die, but NOW, in this present moment. It is the very overpowering, and overcoming power of Christ IN us by the Spirit. “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11) And not only this, but Paul writes to the Philippians, “…that I might KNOW the power of His resurrection (present)…” (3:10) And lastly, “…we live with Him by the power of God toward you.” (2 Cor. 13:4) The power of the resurrection is for a point in time, but it is also for today, and every moment of time, for Christ IS our resurrection.
So, let us not be deterred by the “what ifs” of life, but press on, trusting the Lord Jesus to have mercy on helpless sheep, giving sight to our blind eyes, and helping our unbelief, so that we too, may grasp the greatness of these truths, and appropriate the sufficiency, and surpassing greatness of His power.