Before Jesus comes to the city of Bethany, Lazarus is already dead. His two sisters, Martha and Mary, meet Jesus on the way both overwhelmed with grief. Each in turn has the same reaction to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (vs. 21, 32). Interestingly, Jesus responds differently to these two grieving sisters.
Jesus points Martha to the truth of His divinity. She needed to be assured of reality so Jesus says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life” (vs. 25-26). The truth is that Jesus is God and He has the power to raise the dead and destroy death completely.

With Mary, Jesus points to the truth of His humanity. He responds with compassion. Moved with great emotion, He simply says, “Show me the grave” (vs. 33-34). Jesus enters into the feelings of Mary’s heart. Jesus shows His true humanity to her by entering into her grief and weeping with her (vs. 35). The truth is that Jesus is human and He knows what it is like to grieve.

Like these two sisters, in times of grief we often question God. We feel confused, doubtful, and sometimes angry. At Lazarus’ funeral, Jesus is also angry. When He weeps, the Bible says He is “deeply moved” (vs. 33). Though few English translations reflect this, the meaning behind the language is that He “bellowed with anger; like the snort of a horse; He roars.” Jesus is furious when He goes to the tomb and commands Lazarus to come out.

Why is He angry? Certainly not with the sisters. Rather, Jesus sees what death does to us. It was never meant to be this way. God did not design this world to be a place of pain, suffering, and grief. This miraculous event at a funeral is the catalyst for Jesus’ own death (vs. 45-53). To save us all from death, Jesus Himself would have to die. That is how much He loves you.

Today, I will…center the affection of my heart upon the lengths to which God has gone to fix this broken world. I will praise God for sending Jesus to experience ultimate grief in order to destroy the very thing that hurts us — death itself.