Feb. 12, 2021, John 11:1-3; 17-26
“Can You Believe It!?”
For over 100 years, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” has been astounding the world with strange and interesting facts about this wonderful existence we all share. Some of my favorites include:
- Squirrels are to blame for most power outages.
- One-quarter of all your bones are located in your feet (26 per foot = 52 out of 206 total bones)
- Cotton candy was invented by a dentist.
- Bumblebees can fly higher than Mount Everest.
- Crying stimulates the production of endorphins and can ultimately make you happier.
- The man who invented Pringles was, at his request, cremated and buried in a Pringles can. His children had a long debate over what flavor to use – they went with Original.
I’d like to focus on those last two for a minute.
In John 11, Jesus is told that one of his dear friends, Lazarus, is ill; after only a few days, Lazarus dies from his illness and Jesus goes to Bethany to be with Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters. It is a sad time for all who are present, and even though Jesus is about to perform one of his greatest miracles, he still weeps (John 11:35) over the death of his friend.
It is likely this year you have experienced this kind of tragic loss. Many in our communities have gone through terrible hardships with illness and death; it is no small thing and from these passages of Scripture we know that Jesus weeps because of loss. Although I do not think he weeps out of despair. There is health in grief and it’s important to grieve in tragedy, but Jesus offers something even more amazing when he raises Lazarus from the dead: a promise for all of us.
“Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this...” – John 11:25-26
The Pringles can is not the end of the road for those of us who place our faith and hope in Jesus who raises the dead back to life. Whatever despair is facing you today, know that Jesus is with you in the midst of it, grieving alongside you, but not without hope. Believe in Jesus and live.
Questions for reflection:
- How have you been impacted by grief in this last year?
- What are some other healthy expressions of grief you know are helpful in the process?
- Why is it difficult to believe this truth about Jesus’ power in resurrection?
- Have you placed your faith in Jesus? If not, what’s holding you back?