While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. Luke 24:15 ESV
Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Our loved ones pass away and we follow them shortly after. War, abortion, sickness, murder, poverty, and other forms of brokenness invade our world. If things are smooth sailing, it is temporary. Suffering is unavoidable, like death and taxes.
Several members of our church experienced the loss of loved ones this week. It is a heavy week, with hearts grieving yet rejoicing.
In Luke 24, two of Jesus’ disciples are hurting. Jesus had just been crucified and the hope of many died with him. Others whispered about a resurrection but many were skeptical. Rumors abounded. But as we watch these two walking down the road, we see Jesus Himself draw near to them. We see Jesus enter the space of their grief and interrupt the mourning with His presence. That’s what Jesus does.
But Jesus did not only offer His presence (which is enough), He gave them an explanation of what happened. They started their walk in sadness and confusion and Jesus ended their walk with clarity and peace.
As we mourn with those who mourn, know that Jesus mourns as well. Jesus wept with those weeping about the death of Lazarus. He shed real saline tears from the bottom of His perfect heart.
And then He raised Lazarus.
Our Lord never leaves us to weep alone. He enters into the places where our hearts stick in our throats and our eyes sting from crying. With His presence, He displaces the confusion and infuses a love so deep it is hard to comprehend. Now does this make our weeping stop? Does it make it all okay that we have just lost someone very close to us? No on both fronts. We will weep and hurt and it’s never okay to lose a loved one. It hurts, badly. But if those who we lost knew Jesus we know that He too will raise them. That their death is merely a transition to a deeper communion with Jesus.
While death still stings, it won’t sting forever. Our mortal body will put on immortality.
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 ESV
So we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. We offer hope and sometimes we offer nothing more than our presence, because that’s where Jesus starts. And we know that God is good – all the time.