Thinking Through Scripture

"but the word of the Lord remains forever"

Month: January, 2019

52 Reflections on the Gospel of John: #26. Washing Feet and Digging Deeper

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Washing Feet:

So, if you’ve been reading these reflections up to this point, it may be starting to sound like a broken record, but when reading the Gospel of John you must look for meanings beneath the surface. There are things that physically literally happen, but there are also hints and clues towards deeper layers of meaning which the reader is supposed to pursue. Jesus literally got on His hands and knees, literally took water and a towel, and literally washed 24 feet. This took time and effort. It was done with care. It was an act of service that He wanted His disciples to experience and imitate.

I’ve seen a preacher scrub vomit out of the church carpet where a little girl got sick. I’ve seen Christians open up their home on Thanksgiving to the homeless for a warm family meal. I’ve seen disciples giving rides to the elderly, repainting widow’s houses, raking leaves, changing light bulbs, fixing appliances, repairing cars, holding hands, praying, and literally washing those who could not wash themselves. I’ve seen the message of foot-washing lived out in the daily life of the church. While it’s possible to emphasize the failings and misconduct of the church, it’s essential to remember the good. The kind. The servants. The foot-washers (1 Timothy 5:10).

That message and challenge must be seen in John 13. It must be lived out. But at the same time, is it possible that there is more going on here also? Is it possible that there is more than just a message of service? More than a literal foot washing? Perhaps a message about a different kind of washing that Jesus provides?

Symbolic Language and Foot-Washing:

Read closely this exchange between Jesus and Peter:

“He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, do you wash my feet?’ Jesus answered him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean’” (John 13:6-11).

There are a few clues alerting the careful reader that something deeper is happening here. Notice first, when Jesus says, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” What does this mean? There is something missed in the moment, that will be recognized when looking backwards. You know the expression, “Hindsight is always 20/20”? Sometimes removing yourself by time from an event can help you see the event much more clearly. After the cross perhaps the disciples will look back on the foot-washing and see it in a whole new way.

John sometimes lets the reader know about events that were not fully understood until some later point in time. Remember Jesus cleansing the temple? In this action Jesus profoundly links His body to the temple, but it’s a connection that no one seems to understand. Even the disciples. However John, the narrator, lets the reader know, “when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken” (John 2:22). Only by looking backwards were they able to understand and believe.

So when Jesus tells Peter “afterwards you will understand”, the reader should begin looking for something that might be missed during the foot-washing, but that will come to light later.

A Share with Jesus:

The second phrase we should notice is, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me.” The word “share” means “a part” of something bigger. It is used of parts of clothing, parts of the body, parts of a land, etc. In order to have a part, or a share, with Jesus, He must wash you. Peter, always one to go overboard (once literally), then jumps to the conclusion that the foot-washing is not enough! He tells Jesus to wash his hands and head also! He definitely wants be have a share with Jesus. But Jesus reassures him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Do you believe that? Literally? If you wash only your feet, will you be completely clean? Try that for a few weeks and see how the rest of you smells. Physically, literally, it won’t work. The tone is changing here from literal water and washing, to something else. Some sort of washing that makes you completely clean and gives you a part with Jesus.

Hearing this, and thinking physically (as is common in John) Peter misunderstands and demands more than the washing Jesus provides, but is told that what Jesus does is sufficient to make you completely clean. Just sit back and let Jesus lead. Let Him administer the washing. See what He does. At the end, rest assured, you will be completely clean.

Not All of You are Clean?

Notice third, the phrase, “but not all of you [are clean].” This is about Judas (verse 11). This is the dead giveaway that we are no longer talking about literal foot-washing. Jesus didn’t skip Judas’ feet, or do a sloppy job, or use dirty water. Judas’ feet were as clean as everyone else’s. But His heart wasn’t. Jesus masterfully transforms the conversation into a discussion about cleansing of sin, of impurity, a washing that gives you a share with Him. Judas received a washing, but walked away without ever really being clean.

Water is almost always used symbolically in the Gospel of John (see Reflection #19). It is seemingly linked with baptism (John 3:5, 22-23), eternal life (John 4:14), the Holy Spirit (John 3:5, 7:37-39), sight (John 9:7), and the blood of Jesus (John 19:34). I think the foot-washing is no different. The text hints towards a deeper and symbolic washing provided by Jesus; a washing that makes one completely clean and gives you a share with Jesus. Perhaps while reading this, it’s appropriate not only to ask ourselves questions about humility and service to others, but also about baptism, the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, and eternal life. Have you been washed by Jesus?

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52 Reflections on the Gospel of John: #25. Washing Judas’ Feet

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Judas Was There…

The story of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet is a magnificent look into Jesus’ whole worldview. It is a tremendous picture of what His ministry was all about. It’s a glimpse of the humility and love that ultimate takes Him to the cross. It’s a call and challenge to each of His disciples to lay down pride, status, and social hierarchies and submissively and humbly love. Love with kindness. Love with service. Love with action. “Love one another, even as I have love you” (John 13:34).

But even more than that, it is a call to love and serve all. Even the sinful. The greedy. The unlovable. Those who have mistreated you. Or will mistreat you. Love even your enemies. Love and expect nothing in return. Serve without repayment. Be kind no matter what. That’s what the cross is all about: Giving up everything for sinful humanity. Most of whom will not really care. Most of whom will not return that sacrificial love. Foot-washing and the cross closely mirror each other.

That’s why Jesus washed Judas’ feet. He was living out His own radical teaching. Read and really meditate on these words:

“I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).

Judas was there. Judas had his feet washed just like everybody else. He wasn’t skipped. He wasn’t rejected. Even though he would not respond with kindness. It would not soften his heart. He wouldn’t change his ways. Jesus still loved and served him. Because that’s what Jesus does. That who Jesus is. And that’s our challenge to imitate.

Washing Judas’ Feet:

The more I read the John 13 the more I see that Judas’ feet are actually a focal point of the whole story. Notice how it begins: “During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon to betray Him, Jesus…got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet” (John 13:2-5). The whole story begins by focusing everyone’s attention on the unclean heart of Judas.

Now, notice how this story ends: “When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, that one of you will betray Me…After the morsel, Satan then entered into [Judas]…So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night” (John 13:21-30).

Immediately following the foot-washing, that’s when Judas leaves the meal to go betray Jesus. It is one of his very last interactions with Jesus. It’s sandwiched between Satan putting the sin into Judas’ heart, then Satan actually entering fully into him. But not only is Judas at the beginning and end of the story, he’s right in the middle of it.

When Jesus is washing their feet, Peter shouts, “Never shall You wash my feet!” (John 13:8). Jesus’ response is remarkable: “‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me…He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you’” (John 13:8-10). Right in the middle, Jesus makes a brief comment about Judas, then continues washing their feet.

Judas is at the beginning, middle, and end of the foot-washing narrative. That probably means we should reflect on him as we read.

Judas Betrayed Jesus with Clean Feet:

Jesus’ kind act of service did nothing to stop Judas. It did not change his heart or mind. In fact, things escalated from there almost immediately. It’s wonderful to believe that kindness can change people. Because it can. It has and does. But not always. Judas’ feet were cleansed, but his heart wasn’t. Judas betrayed Jesus with clean feet and a filthy heart.

Earlier in John, this reality is foreshadowed in another foot-washing scene. Mary washes Jesus’ feet with an expensive perfume, but Judas objects, saying that she should have sold the perfume to provide for the poor. Then John gives the reader a little insider information: “He said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it” (John 12:3-6). These two foot-washing scenes fill in a lot of details about Judas, and none of them are good.

While reading John 13 it’s important to notice the comparison taking place. On the one hand you have Judas.  He has been following Jesus for years now. Has seen incredible things. Has seen the hungry fed, the blind given sight, the lame healed, and the poor blessed. He has seen the signs, but has rejected their significance. He may like Jesus, but he loves money more. And he serves himself above all. On the other hand you have Jesus, the polar opposite. He was humble, selfless, and generous. He freely took upon Himself the job of a slave. He cared more about His disciples’ feet than His own pride, or status, or self-importance. Money, power, or fame didn’t motivate Jesus. Self-giving love. That’s what Jesus was. That’s what Judas rejected. And that’s what we are all challenged to embody.

52 Reflections on the Gospel of John: #24. Let God Wash Your Feet.

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How to See God:

As we noted in Reflection #23, the Gospel of John teaches an Incarnation Christology, meaning that Jesus existed as God prior to becoming human flesh. The Logos was with God and was God and created all things with God. So anything you see Jesus doing is teaching you about God. One of the problems we sometimes run into is that we have concepts of who God is and we try to fit Jesus into those concepts. I think a better approach, is to forget everything you thought you knew about God. Then look at Jesus. Learn God from Jesus and fit everything else into that.

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).

This passage is saying that we haven’t seen God, so if you want to get to know Him, if you want to see Him, look at Jesus. He has “explained”, or literally exegeted Him. This is why, when Philip tells Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it is enough.” Jesus responds by saying, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me…Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” (John 14:8-11). Or, consider the unfathomable claim, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30).

If your view of God is inconsistent with the life and teachings of Jesus, then change your view of God. If you read passages that depict God differently than Jesus, then change the way you read those passages. A remarkable aspect of early Christianity is that Jesus entirely changed the way the church viewed God and the way they read the Old Testament. Paul says Christians can now read with “unveiled faces” (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). Luke says that Jesus opened His disciples’ minds to “understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45, 27). John, after Jesus cleansed the temple and quoted Psalm 69:9, says it wasn’t until after the resurrection that “His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken” (John 2:22).

So when you see Jesus doing something, you’re learning about God. You’re watching God. When Jesus washes feet, you’re learning that God washes feet.

Why Wash Feet?

In 1st century Palestine foot-washing had a very practical and beneficial purpose. In fact, it still does in many parts of the world. It’s both an ancient and modern blessing. All the way back in Genesis 18, Abraham had 3 visitors (one of whom is the Lord) and made sure they got rest, food, and foot-washings (Genesis 18:4-5). Walking on old dusty roads in worn-down sandals, unable to hop in a car, sit in a cushioned seat, or wear cotton socks and Sonoma shoes (that’s my brand!), there was little more pleasurable or comforting than to arrive at your destination, have a young female servant come over, remove your sandals, take a bowl of clean water and a towel, and rub your feet clean.

Why wash feet? Because it was a kindness of real practical value. What about today? It can still be a kindness of real and practical value. But it is also a very powerful symbol. A symbol that reinforces the mindset of servitude that we are to have towards one another. When the Pope washes feet at a juvenile detention center outside of Rome, it illustrates something important. In the same way that a sermon (hopefully) encourages you to take a message and go apply it, foot-washing can be a call to go out and find ways to serve.

But when reading the passage, there are two very important reasons that stand out as to why Jesus did this. The whole passage begins by saying “Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1).  Jesus washed His disciples feet, quite simply, because He loved them. We know He loved “the beloved disciple.” But He also loved Thomas, and Andrew, and Philip. He loved Peter who this same chapter He predicts will deny Him (John 13:38). He loved Judas who, as we will observe in more depth in the next reflection, would get up immediately following the foot-washing and betray Him. Jesus loved them, every unworthy one of them, and served them.

The second reason is stated right after the foot-washing, when Jesus is explaining Himself. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:14-15). The disciples are going to have some important roles in the church. People will know them. They will have authority and respect. They need to remember what it is all about. Ministry is not, ever, about becoming famous, getting praise, or feeling important.  It is about foot-washing. It is about kindness and service and following the example of Jesus.

Let God Wash Your Feet:

Putting all of this together, remember that seeing Jesus is how we see God. Jesus’ love led Him to humbly take on the role of a servant, usually a low ranking servant, usually a female servant, and benevolently wash the feet of His disciples. That’s the kind of God who loves us. That’s the kind of God we serve. As we imitate Jesus, and follow His example, we’re showing that God to the world.

When Jesus started to wash Peter’s feet, Peter protested, “Never shall You wash My feet!” (John 13:8). Peter had a social hierarchical structure in mind. The Lord shall never be a servant to me! This may have been humility on Peter’s part. But it was misguided. So often we want to reject an offer of kindness. We feel uncomfortable. Unworthy. But that’s the wrong response. Accept people’s kindness, and then give it to others. Instead of rejecting or negating kindness, multiply it! Accept the love of God given to you, and give it to others also! Let God wash your feet, then go wash somebody else’s.

52 Reflections on the Gospel of John: #23. Incarnation and Foot washing

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Sacrificial Love:

Nobody likes a demotion. No player likes to lose their starting status. People don’t generally like to go backwards. To make less money. To get less than they deserve. To work hard for nothing. But sometimes people do. They may be underappreciated. They may work hard and be under-performing. Or maybe, they chose to do less, make less, or “be” less at some job, because their priorities are changing.

I know of people who have willingly taken demotions, taken less pay, taken fewer responsibilities, and worked fewer hours so that they could do more of what they care about: Spend time with their family, travel, read, or just simply enjoy life more. They stop living to work, and begin working to live.

So why mention all of that? Because taking a “demotion” is something virtually nobody wants. Unless they want something else more. If you are going to willingly get less than you deserve, there better be a good reason. It better be for something important. Jesus willingly took less than He deserved. In a way that none of us will ever be able to understand or grasp, He took less than He deserved.  But He didn’t do it for nothing. There was something very important to Him that motivated Him to take less than He deserved…

Love.

Love motivated Jesus. A level and depth of love that the world has never seen before. After washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). This “new commandment” is to love just as Jesus loved. An active, sacrificial, service-oriented love. A love that can change the world.

Incarnation VS Exaltation:

“Christology” is a theological term which describes a field of study focused on the origin, nature, and personhood of Jesus. Christology addresses topics like the Hypostatic Union (the nature of the union of Jesus’ humanity and divinity), Aryanism, Adoptionism, etc. In New Testament scholarship various books are described as having a “High Christology” if Jesus is pictured as divine and equal to God (like John), or as having a “Low Christology” if Jesus is pictured as merely human (Mark and Luke are often said to have a “low Christology.” Richard Hays’ books Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels and Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness present an excellent case that all four Gospels picture Jesus as divine and the embodiment of the God of Israel).

Adoptionism is a form of “Exaltation Christology” which advocates that Jesus was born simply as a man, but was “adopted” to become divine (usually at His baptism or resurrection). He was “Exalted” to divinity. This is the idea of promotion. Jesus was faithful to God and was promoted because of it. The Gospel of John does not teach an “Exaltation Christology.” John teaches quite the opposite, an “Incarnation Christology.” This is the idea that Jesus was already divine, “the Word was with God and was God” (John 1:1), but came to earth to become human. He became incarnate, enfleshed, “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14). This would be a demotion: A willing, self-sacrificial, demotion.

Jesus’ life was about willful demotions for the sake of love. The incarnation itself is a complete act of self-giving love.  The cross is the most vivid, heart-wrenching, and powerful picture of self-giving love that has ever been seen. But in-between those two events were 33 years of life. A life spent in selflessness, kindness, service, and sacrifice. Paul, while possibly quoting an early Christian hymn, writes about the incarnation, life, and death of Jesus in this way: “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Demoted to Slavery:

As Jesus was preparing to depart from His disciples, as He was preparing for his impending execution on the Roman cross, He gave them a unique and beautiful display of a willful demotion. He got down on his hands and knees, took a rag, took upon Himself the job of a slave, and with their feet in His hands, began to wash. Jesus washed their feet. The Word who was with God and was God, washed their feet. God washed man’s feet. Dirty man. Sinful man. Man who would soon abandon Him. Man who would soon deny Him. Man who would soon betray Him. God loving took the dirty foot of Judas, a traitor and thief, a son of perdition, and scrubbed it clean.

Jesus is God. Jesus is Lord and Teacher and Master. Yet He was not above becoming the slave who washed men’s feet. Just like the signs of Jesus are meant to teach important and valuable lessons, so is this. When He finished washing their feet, He asked, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher; have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:12-15).

That concluding challenge of Jesus sounds a lot like what He says later in this chapter: “you love one another; just as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Love, serve, and wash one another, because Jesus loves, serves, and washes us. Jesus, as Lord and Teacher, was not above any task. Nothing was too demeaning. Nothing was too lowly or dirty for Him. So, what jobs are beneath you? What are you unwilling to do because, “that’s not my responsibility.” Are you willing to take a demotion? If you ever feel too proud, too educated, too wealthy, too important, too clean, too smart, too busy, to get on your hands and knees and wash a dirty foot, clean a dirty floor, or work on some lowly unglorifying task, perhaps we need to remember the love, service, and humility of Jesus. Remember the incarnation and the cross. Remember the dirty feet in-between.

52 Reflections on the Gospel of John: #22. The Raising of Lazarus (Part 2)

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Scriptural Tension Regarding Death:

Tension often exists within our souls when a loved one dies. Particularly, when the deceased is a Christian. We know that better things await. We have hope. We have reason not to “grieve as the rest who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Paul writes, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain…having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Philippians 1:21-23). Clearly, death produces something valuable and something better for the Christian. Through this hope, we can find some comfort in our misery. We know death isn’t the end, so we shouldn’t act like it is. But it doesn’t remove the misery and that’s where the tension lies. For us, and in Scripture, hope and misery walk hand in hand.

It’s hard to be positive about death. Because we know that death is an attack on God-given life. Death is a terrible and dreadful enemy that seems to always win. The majority of Scripture does not paint death in any sort of positive light. God says, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies” (Ezekiel 18:32). Death only entered the world by sin, and when sin is eradicated through the death of Jesus, the necessary result is eternal life. Jesus’ death was a victory over sin. He took sin to the grave, so it’s no wonder He came back on the other side. Sin causes death, so when sin is destroyed, life wins! Every death is a reminder of this sinful, painful, fallen world. But we hope for something better. The death of sin and the victory of life walk hand in hand.

Paul writes of death as an enemy doomed for destruction; “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). At the final resurrection, when our bodies are raised to eternal glory, then we can fully appreciate the saying, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). When a weakened army is defeated and captured, that moment is usually filled with taunts and ridicule. Paul pictures Christians taunting death when we are victorious over it: “Where is your victory now, death?

Even those passages that seem to picture death as a “precious” are often misread or misunderstood. Psalm 116:15 says, “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” This passage has been quoted time and again to comfort those who have lost loved ones. And it can. But really, the way it is often used makes it hard to square with God taking no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies. It makes it hard to square with the whole rest of the psalm which is about God saving someone from death. In Psalm 116, death is the enemy to be escaped and God is praised when that happens. What this passage seems to be saying is not that death is “precious” like it’s some cherished and loved event, but that death is “precious” like a “precious stone.” Meaning an extraordinarily costly or expensive stone. It could be translated “costly in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” Death matters to God. It is costly and expensive. That’s why he saved the psalmist from it. That’s why He is destroying death through the resurrection!

Death was not part of God’s original plan and it’s not part of His eternal plan. The grand blessing of Scripture is not that we get to die. But that death is destroyed forever! Death loses and life wins. Death itself will be cast into the lake of fire with all of God’s enemies (Revelation 20:14). Death dies and goes to hell. But, strangely enough, there can still be glory in death.

Glory in Death:

The glory of God. That’s what the raising of Lazarus is all about. Lazarus’ sickness was “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4). So when Jesus tells them to open the tomb and Mary protests (because her brother’s rotting dead body stinks with the aroma of death), He responds, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Verse 4 and verse 40 bookend the raising of Lazarus with “glory” and the sickness, death, and resurrection are all illustrating the glory of God.

Interestingly, in John, the word “glory” is often associated with death. When speaking about His own death, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). When telling Peter about his future death by crucifixion, the text says, “Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God” (John 21:19). That is such a strange connection. Death is not how I usually think of “glory.” It’s a terrible invasion on God’s good creation.

But there are a few ways that death does produce glory. When a martyr dies faithfully for the cause of Christ, that death produces glory. It is something to be held in glory and revered because a person has followed Christ, who through suffering and death was “crowned with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:9). Suffering with Christ is regularly pictured as a glorious moment producing joy and blessing (Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29; 3:10; 1 Peter 4:12-16). Death is the endgame of carrying the cross. It’s the finish line. And there is glory there.

But the glory that is seen in the death of Lazarus is not just that he got sick, died, and his body began to rot and stink. But what happened next.  Death didn’t win. Lazarus was raised back to life, and death was seen as a failure. Death was plundered by the power of Jesus. And that was glorious. Even more glory, however, is seen in the resurrection of Jesus. Lazarus died, then came back to life. Jesus died, and rather than coming back to His old life, He pushed all the way through death to the eternal glory of life on the other side. He experienced all that death could accomplish, and walked away more powerful than ever. Never to die again. Always carrying around that victory.

Jesus Wept:

Death is not the end. Death does not win. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt.  It doesn’t mean we should just accept death as natural or somehow “God’s will.” Death is an affront to the will of God. It is the destination where sin has led us. It is a theft of God-given life and it steals our friends, family, and ultimately each one of us.  It lingers over every relationship because we know it will not last. This is why “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). And others saw the depth of His love in that moment. But through this despair and sorrow, Jesus produced glory (John 11:40). Death ends in glory and while for now “you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” Have faith. Have hope. Never give up. The victory is coming.

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