If you’ve ever been affected by death—and many of us have—then you understand firsthand what Mary and Martha were experiencing at the passing of their brother, Lazarus. There was great sadness in their hearts, and when Jesus arrived on scene, both Mary and Martha, with the searing pain of loss, cried to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32). In response to their grief, Jesus was deeply moved, and the One with authority over all creation, including death itself, cried too (John 11:35).
If you know the story, you know what comes next. Jesus approached the tomb where his friend, Lazarus, was laid, and after the stone was removed from the entrance, he said, “Lazarus, come out” (John 11:43), and Lazarus came out, very much alive and well. I can imagine the great joy that followed in Mary’s and Martha’s hearts, but I can’t stop thinking about Jesus’ own grief and weeping. He knew he was going to raise his friend from the dead, but he experienced sorrow nonetheless, and he cried. In that moment, his heart was deeply troubled as he saw the effects of sin and death on the beautiful world he had created. It teaches us something very important about our Lord: death breaks his heart, and this explains why he came to do something about death.
On Easter Sunday, we celebrated that Jesus conquered death for us when he arose from his own grave. It's a celebration that followers of Christ have been celebrating for two millennia, a celebration that echoes Paul's exclamation, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55). Easter Sunday may have already passed, but we continue to rejoice in Jesus' defeat of death for us, once and for all. He is still risen, my friends! He is risen indeed! And that changes everything for us!