About a year ago, I wrapped up a bright green onesie to send to a friend.
When I say bright green, I mean bright green. It was the color of a green M&M, the color of baby fresh grass with a whisper of dew. It was the color of life.
Then a few weeks later, life stopped. My friend texted and said that our sweet baby boy had died. She delivered a 9 lb, 9 oz beautiful baby boy, who would never breath our fresh air, never get first teeth, never learn to wobble walk in the way that toddlers do. It was painful and hard.
And all I could think about was that silly onesie. I felt like a terrible person, sending bright green where there should only be black. Thankfully, my friend felt differently. She saw life and I sometimes wonder if that’s why this was her road and not my own. God gave her the ability to look in and see fresh, green, and life in Jesus, where I had missed it.
Sebastian’s funeral was a tear-filled celebration of LIFE! Gen and Geof and their endearing and bold pastor collective made sure of it.
Because we are people of the resurrection.
Jesus’ very name is Resurrection.
To grasp the meaning wrapped in this, let’s read John 11 in its entirety. It’s a long one, but it is 57 verses of death-to-life, waiting-to-fulfillment awesomeness that we would not want to miss. Read first and then move through some of the highlights with me below.
“Lord, he whom you love is ill.” (John 11:3)
Jesus loves. In a story of death, sometimes this is the easiest thing to lose sight of. Jesus loved Lazarus as a child of God, and He loved him deeply as a friend. John 15:15 tells us that we are also called friend, by Jesus. Jesus loves.
But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
Is it possible that God sees things differently than we do? Yes, of course it is, but it’s hard to focus on that when you’re struggling with loss. We need friends to remind us that Jesus seems to skip over the reality of death entirely here. As believers, we live in a reality that my friend Genevieve understood with sweet Sebastian more than I was ready to recognize. Death is nothingness to believers. The saying may go, “Life sucks and then you die.” For believers, the saying is more appropriately, “Life sucks and then…resurrection!” All roads lead to glory for the believers of Christ Jesus. In my loss, in each of our losses, the end result is always glory to the Savior of the World. We wouldn’t flippantly gloss over someone’s loss, of course not. Jesus doesn’t do that either. He recognizes truth with His statement in John 11:4, and then we see Jesus moved to tears in John 11:34-35, physical weeping alongside His brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. (John 11:6)
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. (John 11:17)
Two days, four days, even 20 minutes can seem like an eternity in loss. The thing that sticks out most for me in the account of Lazarus’s resurrection is all the waiting. Mary and Martha waited for Jesus, who stayed two days longer after being told of Lazarus’s illness. The sisters had to endure waiting to see what would happen with Lazarus’s illness. Lazarus had to wait and endure his own illness. Even after Lazarus died, the sisters waited four days for Jesus to arrive on the scene.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (John 11:21)
More waiting…these women who followed Jesus knew He held the power of life and death. When you know God can do something and He chooses not to, that feels hard and the waiting can easily be filled with what feels like harsh air and anger. In John 11:24 Martha attests that she knows all about the resurrection of the dead on the last day, that she never questioned it; what she questioned was God’s way of going about it for her brother. Isn’t this so often the case for us? We trust in God’s overall plan, but wonder why we fit in the way we do and what that means for His goodness and His love for us.
When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” (John 11:43)
Notice that I skipped John 11:25-42– eighteen verses of waiting. God rarely has instant answers and resurrection is the same. All the good stuff comes in its time, in His time. When we are stuck with waiting in the meantime, we can rest in John 11:25:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”
Yes. He is the Resurrection and the Life. We live outside of what we can understand and know sometimes, and death especially is what we do not know and hard to understand. Sebastian is missed by many of us here on this earth. We would rather have seen him crawl, listened to his babble, and corrected his schoolwork, but Jesus’ name is Resurrection and Life. Green is the perfect color for that little man. He knows Life in a way that we can only imagine and we have been called to wait. His Savior is our Savior.
Jesus is Resurrection itself. He is Life itself.
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