Pastor Stan reflects on the following passageS in light of COVID-19: Hebrews 4:14-16 and John 11.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
John 11: 21-27
“Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.””
Good morning Crown and Joy family! This is our third installment on our Coronavirus devos.
Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that we “have a high priest who is …able to sympathize with our weaknesses …(and) who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Therefore, we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We see this so clearly in how Jesus responded to the death of Lazarus when he met both Mary and Martha in John 11. We see Jesus, when he came into Bethany, he meets Martha first. Martha says those immortal words “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” But she goes on to say, “But now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give it you.” Jesus assures her that he is the resurrection and the life if she would believe. She replies that she knows who he is – the Christ, the son of God who was prophesied to come into the world.
But when Mary comes, all she says is, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Whereas Martha was at a place where she could grapple with the truths about this life and the next, Mary was simply grief stricken. Her tears so moved the Son of God that he wept with her. Of course, he knew he would soon raise him from the dead, but that was not the point. The point was his beloved sister in the faith was in sorrow.
By now, some of you listening to this will have lost a loved one due to this virus. Sure, you may know all the theology about the world to come, but at the moment you are grieving the loss of your loved one. You are in good company; so did Mary and so did Jesus.
This should tell us something. If you are somebody standing alongside someone who has lost a loved one to the virus, now is not the time to discuss the purposes of God. Now is the time to cry. If you are listening to this post, don’t you be ashamed of crying. Don’t you be ashamed of being open about your grief. If Jesus Christ, moments before he would raise Lazarus, cried tears, not only of sorrow, but also anger at what death did and does to our lives, then so can you.
May you draw near to the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help you get through this time with the assurance that he is touched with the feelings, not just the facts, of your loss. God bless you. And thank you for listening.